Onekama students benefit from dual enrollment, vocational education

ONEKAMA — Onekama Consolidated Schools does its best to prepare students for the next level.

Onekama Consolidated Schools counselor Scott McKenney gives a report to the board of education on the large number of students taking dual enrollment and vocational education classes at West Shore Community College.

Onekama Consolidated Schools counselor Scott McKenney gives a report to the board of education on the large number of students taking dual enrollment and vocational education classes at West Shore Community College.

One of the many ways the district achieves that is through offering many dual enrollment and vocational educational opportunities to their students. Onekama Consolidated Schools counselor Scott McKenney recently delivered a report to the board of education on just how many students take advantage of those opportunities at Onekama Consolidated Schools.

“We do our dual enrollment courses through West Shore Community College and over the years we have tried to add more programs with them,” said McKenney. “It has been nice that they set up their program in Manistee at the hospital, so we have a bunch of courses there with several during the day and some in the evening.”

Dual enrollment courses allow high school students grades, 9-12, the opportunity to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school. Many students are able to accumulate enough credits that can take a year and sometimes two years off their time in college, which is a great financial savings.

McKenney said as the years have progressed, Onekama schools has moved away from using an ITV video class format to the live classes.

“In the fall of 2017 we had 31 students taking 14 different courses,” said McKenney. “In the spring 2018 we have 30 students taking 17 different courses. Some of the more popular ones are those general elective credits and almost every course our kids take cover the general electives they would take when they go away to college.”

McKenney said he works closely with the students so the classes they take are ones that will transfer to where they are going on to college.

“We look at the general electives, but when students are interested in a specific program we look at the courses that are offered at West Shore and make sure we can transfer that credit to other colleges,” said McKenney. “West Shore has been doing a nice job with that in working with transfer programs in a lot of different areas.”

He said one of the most popular is the registered nursing program where students can get their associate’s degree and transfer to Grand Valley State University, Northern Michigan University or Ferris State University to get their bachelor’s degree.

“That is direct transfer and every credit they get from West Shore transfers directly to those colleges and universities,” said McKenney. “That helps them save a lot of money and Ferris actually changed the program where students can stay for three years at West Shore and need only to go to Ferris for one year.”

McKenney said another popular program between West Shore Community College and Ferris State University is the welding engineering program.

“The students here can take welding classes through career tech as a high school student, but they can also take it as a dual enrollment and get their two-year associate’s degree from West Shore in pre-welding engineering to transfer to Ferris and get a four year degree in welding engineering technology, which is big field right now,” said McKenney. “The students I talk to from Ferris say they already have jobs waiting before they graduate.”

McKenney said that Onekama Consolidated Schools sends more students by far to take dual enrollment courses than any other school in the county.

“That is really good and saves parents a lot of money as well as letting students get ahead on credit requirements,” said McKenney. “It’s also a good connection between our school and West Shore.”

He said what goes right along with dual enrollment is the vocational tech program Onekama Consolidated Schools does with the West Shore Education Service District and WSCC.

“All of those programs are housed at WSCC and every one of the high school programs has a corresponding associate’s degree program or a certificate program at the college,” said McKenney. “So students can begin taking classes in high school, transfer to WSCC and get a degree or certificate.”

McKenney said the big program the last two years has been the Agri-science program. Students can start in the high school vocational education one, go on to the WSCC associate’s degree program and then have everything transfer to Michigan State University.

“They also have a program where you can go one year in the high school program and then transfer to MSU and get an associate’s degree,” said McKenney.

McKenney said this year they have 27 students taking 10 different programs. Those programs include agri-science, allied health, automotive technology, construction trades, criminal justice, culinary arts, digital media, educator academy, graphic communications, IT: networking, marketing/retailing, mechatronics/pre-engineering and welding technology.

“Some programs are more popular then others and it just depends upon the nature of the students,” said McKenney. “I always tell the students that if there is something they might be interested in taking in college and there is something in tech prep that is similar they should do it then to see if they like it.”

McKenney said what is good about that is they can do it at no cost in high school and not have to worry about spending the money and then changing their mind in college.

 

avatar

Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply