School divisions in central Alberta are opening up career options for students by offering more dual credit courses.
Dual Credit Classes are career-focused courses in grades 10, 11, and 12 where students can earn both high school credits and credits that count toward a certificate, diploma, and degree. a post-secondary diploma or degree, including a journeyman’s certificate.
In June, school authorities were able to apply for a Dual Credit Starter Grant of up to $50,000 and/or a Dual Credit Development Grant of $100,000.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools received both grants.
Tracey Millar, the division’s dual credit manager, said the grants are invaluable and allow students to better transition from high school into post-secondary courses or trades training.
“It’s those experiences that they have of how to learn at that post-secondary level that will sometimes give a reluctant learner the confidence to move forward,” Millar said.
She said many students want to enter the health care field and the division is expanding dual health services credits for students to study to become health care aides and more in partnership with Red Deer Polytechnic.
The Red Deer Catholic Church is also upgrading its equipment to offer dual credit Automotive Service Technician training.
The Chinook’s Edge school division also received both grants and now has 12 students taking courses at Olds College to become veterinary technical assistants, and developing equipment for robotic programming and drones in agricultural technology.
Jason Drent, associate superintendent of learning services at Chinook’s Edge, said studying for a career has a positive impact on student success.
“Our preliminary results suggest that when a student participates in a dual credit experience, whether single coursework or the certification program, there is virtually a guarantee that they will graduate. secondary,” Drent said.
Other central Alberta jurisdictions that have received start-up grants include Clearview School Division, Sunchild First Nation School and Wild Rose School Division. Wolf Creek Schools received both an improvement and a start-up grant.
For the 2022-2023 school year, Alberta Education is offering over $1.8 million in Dual Credit Start-Up Grants and over $2 million in Dual Credit Enhancement Grants.
Of the 61 total grants awarded, 18 school authorities will receive both grants, bringing the total number of school authorities receiving grants to 43.
“Dual credit programs help students make meaningful transitions into post-secondary education, professional designations or the workplace,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a statement.
“Expanding these opportunities is key to improving high school completion rates and building a skilled, educated and engaged workforce. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this funding will have on Alberta students and our economy.