Creston— High school students from Southwestern Community College’s region were offered a unique learning opportunity during summer 2019. For the first-time ever, SWCC offered Summer Career Academies in the areas of welding and information technology - programming—and, due to state funding, the students were able to complete the Career Academies free of charge.

Starting June 10, high school students came to SWCC’s Creston campus each week day to complete coursework, earning high school and college credit simultaneously, in courses such as general industry safety, welding blueprint reading, introduction to fabrication, and introduction to computers. The last of these courses will wrap up on July 19.

Six students were registered for the information technology Summer Career Academy and 11 students were registered for the welding technology Summer Career Academy. The only requirement was that the students be in grades nine, 10, 11, or 12 during the 2019-20 school year. Students were even able to secure transportation scholarships to attend.

The college offers diploma and Associate of Applied Science degree programs in each of these areas, therefore if a student decides to pursue an information technology systems networking or a welding technology degree following high school, they will already have credits on their college transcripts and courses completed.

This Summer College Credit Program (SCCP) was authorized in 2018 as part of the Future Ready Iowa Act and supported by a $600,000 state appropriation. According to the Iowa Department of Education the SCCP program had three primary goals: provide greater access to college-credit coursework in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Iowa’s community colleges by allowing high school students to enroll during the summer at no cost; allow students to explore and start on paths to obtain credentials linked to high-demand fields; and maximize the investment made by community colleges, school districts, business partners, and others in modern CTE facilities and equipment through innovative summer programming.

The SWCC Summer Career Academies in welding and information technology - programming were established by the college’s secondary programs department. Rachel Ramaeker is the coordinator of secondary programs for SWCC.

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