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Schools, colleges unite to prepare students for future

Posted September 30

— When Eric Cardona graduates from high school next year, he will leave with more than a diploma.

Cardona will also take with him a full year's worth of credits toward an automotive technician diploma from Northeast, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reported . He did it by taking courses through City Stadium Automotive at Green Bay East High School in conjunction with an apprenticeship with an area mechanic.

He said taking college classes in high school alleviates some of the financial burden on his family, who also will send his younger sister to college.

"I feel proud for my family who immigrated here from Mexico..." he said. "That I'm making the right decisions for myself and for them and in turn letting them know they made the right decision by coming here 20 years ago."

A new program, Turbocharge with College Credit, aims to expand those sorts of opportunities for students to accelerate their paths to college and careers.

Back in April, education officials announced a partnership between Green Bay schools, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay that is working to introduce the idea of going to college to elementary and middle school students, and to incorporate more college-level courses in high schools.

The goal is that by 2023, all students graduating from the district will leave high school with a minimum of 15 college credits, said Green Bay Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld. The intended result is that students become confidently career-minded and have a smooth transition into post-secondary education, she said.

Langenfeld said the 2017-18 school year, and as Turbocharge continues to roll out, school will focus on ensuring everyone involved understands how the program benefits students as well the Northeast Wisconsin's economy.

In an effort to further push that understanding, the League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay is sponsoring a panel discussion Sept. 26 at the Brown County Library. The discussion with Langenfeld, NWTC President Jeffrey Rafn and UW-GB President Gary Miller is open to the public.

Miller plans to discuss the important role of colleges in preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.

Rafn said he anticipates speaking about the goals of the schools and wants to learn more about the goals of individual students. He said strategic academic and career planning is a key to helping students take advantage of every opportunity to earn college credit while in high school.

Two NWTC career coaches will work in area high schools to support both counselors and teachers as part of the new program.

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