George County Center offers dual credit welding program

October 31, 2012

A high school student practices her welding technique in the dual-credit welding program offered at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's George County Center.

High school students in the secondary welding program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s George County Center may be able to finish high school with welding certifications and be several courses closer to a college diploma. This opportunity is due to a new career/technical dual-credit agreement that is one of the first of its kind in the state.  The highlight of the agreement is that it allows participants to improve their technique while getting both high school and college credit for their work.  Successful completers can get six hours of college credit for the fall semester.

“The great thing about this program is that students, which are picked from the first-year welding program in high school, are allowed to complete this program as their second step in high school welding and the first step in college welding,” said Jason Frey, the secondary welding instructor at the center who is also teaching the dual-credit welding course. “They can get six hours of credit toward college and are much more skilled at welding than the usual beginning college welder.”

Frey said the program is still in the pilot stage but has been successful.  He is hoping to offer two blocks (classes) of the dual credit program in the future.  “Having this gives them a leg-up in the program and allows them to advance further and learn new techniques they may have not been able to conquer before. It also ensures that our college program gets a group of students that are better welders from the beginning.”

Cheryl Bond, assistant dean of the George County Center, said the program has taken communication and cooperation with the high school both for planning and implementation.  “This is something we have been working to put in place for a while,” she said.  “We think it offers students the opportunity to get on the fast track to a college diploma and to completing the certifications they need in their chosen career field.  That way, they can become successful employees much quicker or choose to further their education.  Either way, this gives them a big boost for their future.”

The program is offered in partnership with George County High School.  Students travel by bus to the college’s George County Center for the class each day.  A second semester class, a more advanced class, will be offered after Christmas to successful completers of the first-semester program.

“The dual-credit welding program is just one of many innovative ways MGCCC is meeting the needs of the citizens of our district,” said Dr. Mary Graham, MGCCC president.  “We plan to continue to expand our dual-enrollment/dual-credit courses in our academic, technical and career programs to promote student success.”

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