Feb 26, 2013 12:03 AM by Annie Snead

College degrees seem to be the new high school diplomas

"It's changed because now employers are looking for that next level of dedication in education," said Tom Junk, Director of Technical Education for D-11 Schools.

Beginning next year, D-11 will offer a new program to high school students, who can also work toward a two year college degree.

Junk said with the new program they're starting next year at Wasson, students will be able to get their high school diploma and associates degree by the time they graduate.

"We're expecting a lot of interest, we anticipate that we have quite a few students who'd be interested in moving forward," said Junk.

Students could also apply the 60 hours earned towards their bachelors degree if they wanted to pursue that and the district picks up the tab.
For students who don't start the program in 9th grade, they'll still get to earn credits to apply to their degree.

"Over their life time they're going to make much more,138 percent more, than those students without the college degree so it's a great investment," said Homer Wesley regarding higher education.

Wesley is the Vice Chancellor of Student Success and Enrollment Management for UCCS.
He says they start reaching out to students at the middle school level to talk to them about higher education and they've also got students who aren't traditional.

"We've got lots of students today who commute, who take their courses and they're back off to full time employment, caring for families," said Wesley.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for workers with a high school diploma is 8.1 percent while the rate for those with a bachelor's degree is 3.7 percent.

"Recently it's just so important for students to have a bachelors degree to be able to compete in what's now a global society," said Wesley.

As we've reported, Wasson is still closing. It will be now be re-purposed to house the early college high school program and other programs like culinary and automotive repair.
Those with D-11 say they've just started the process of getting information out to eighth graders and current students at Wasson.



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