Laurens County HS Students Get Ahead with Dual Enrollment at OFTC
Nearly 50 Laurens County and Dublin City high school students are taking advantage of free college classes offered through Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Dual Enrollment program.
Dual enrollment offers high school students the opportunity to enroll in college classes and earn dual credit for both high school and college for free; full tuition and most fees and textbook costs are covered.
Students from Dublin, East Laurens, and West Laurens High Schools, as well as Georgia Cyber Academy and local home-schooled students are taking advantage of the classes OFTC has to offer like Nurse Aide, Welding, Criminal Justice and academic core classes like English, Psychology, Biology and more.
“At OFTC we love that we are able to offer high school students an opportunity to not only get ahead in their academics but the chance to try new things and learn various skill sets that may help them decide what they really want to do as a career after they graduate from high school,” shared Saketha Adams, OFTC’s Dean of Student Affairs.
Whether a student is interested in taking core academic courses to take with them into their college of choice or taking advantage of the hands-on training which prepares them for a career, the advantages of dual enrolment are absolute.
“The skills that a student learns at OFTC can make them employable,” said Eric Cannada, Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director for Dublin City Schools and co-CEO of the Heart of Georgia College and Career Academy (HGCCA). “By earning certifications and degrees from OFTC the student then has a skill that can be utilized anywhere to have a career; not just a job, but a career.”
West Laurens High School junior, Sydnee Harrison is taking Nurse Aide classes at OFTC. She will complete the program in May as a Certified Nurse Aide. “I feel like the skills I am learning now will help me in the future because I am pursuing a nursing career,” she shared.
Students also benefit from the college experience, Cannada added. “This allows students to get a head start on their academic courses if they want to attend a four-year university or if they decide to continue with the degree they’re working on while at OFTC,” he said. “The ability for students to earn college credits while in high school for free is an awesome opportunity for our students today.”
Piper Zellner, a junior at Dublin High School is taking English 1101 and 1102 and said she feels like her dual enrollment classes are helping her shape responsibility, independence and leadership roles when it comes to her schooling.
“The skills that I’m currently acquiring in my class will help shape my future because of how much knowledge and expansion I am receiving as a 16-year-old high school junior,” Zellner shared. “Learning, reading, and challenging myself now will help me in future college classes because I will be more aware of the content and braced for the classes due to me already being exposed to it.”
Besides the hands-on training, acquiring a set of skills, and the taste of college coursework, many OFTC dual enrollment students take advantage of the career connections their program provides through different apprenticeships offered through the HGCCA where they get real-world experience in the work-force.
“We work with OFTC and with industries to create opportunities for apprenticeships for students, so they can actually get work experience and training with their coursework, all while still in high school,” Cannada said. “A student can come out of high school with a skill and often times with an offer for employment.”
OFTC Machine Tool instructor, David Hall, has thirteen students from Dublin, East and West Laurens high schools, and homeschool students participating in the local Oconee, Erdrich, and Aweba apprenticeship programs and says these opportunities are preparing them for a bright future.
“Not only does the dual enrollment student receive high school credit for the classes taken at OFTC, they also get work experience at the same time,” Hall shared. After graduating high school, the students will work three days a week until they complete the apprenticeship program. “And once they complete the program, they’re guaranteed a job at either Erdrich or Aweba,” Hall said.