Grant-Funded Program Furthers High School-to-College Connection

Published 10.25.2010


Pennsylvania College of Technology received grant funding to further the work of the Central Pennsylvania Tech Prep Consortium.

The Central Pennsylvania Tech Prep Consortium, which is coordinated by the college's Outreach for K-12 Office, serves high schools and career and technical education centers in 14 counties in central and northcentral Pennsylvania.

To fund its Tech Prep programming for 2010-11, the Outreach for K-12 Office received a $271,106 grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

"What we are really doing is helping our region to implement the Perkins Law, connecting high school career and technical education to postsecondary career and technical education," said Jeannette F. Carter, director of Outreach for K-12 at the college, who serves as the consortium's coordinator. Elizabeth A. Biddle, K-12 project manager at the college, is the co-coordinator.

Among the projects funded by the grant, the Tech Prep Consortium helps high school career and technical education institutions to develop and implement programs of study in technical areas the state defines as "high priority," meaning there are ample job openings in those fields and they provide a family-sustaining wage. The programs of study, known as SOAR (Students Occupationally and Academically Ready) provide a plan that includes a state-defined list of competencies in the high-priority occupational areas.

Through the state's SOAR program, high school students in those technical areas who meet certain performance standards are eligible to earn a minimum of nine college credits at any Pennsylvania college or university that signed the statewide agreement to award the credits in that field.

Twenty-eight colleges in Pennsylvania signed articulation agreements to award credit in some technical area. Penn College began awarding the credits in welding technology in 2010-11 and agreed to begin awarding credits in collision repair technology and automotive technology in 2011-12. The college awarded SOAR credits to five incoming welding technology students this fall.

The Central Pennsylvania Tech Prep grant funds the implementation of an online system that will allow secondary schools and Penn College to electronically update articulation agreements.

The Tech Prep grant is also a source of funding for the college's dual-enrollment program, called Penn College NOW. The program provides Penn College courses at participating high schools, taught by the high school's instructors, who are trained by Penn College faculty. Students taking the courses receive transferable college credits and grades that will appear on a Penn College transcript.

Other projects partially funded by Tech Prep include the college's fall and spring Career Days, which invite high schools and middle schools to bring their students to the Penn College campus to participate in hands-on activities in many career areas, and College and Career Readiness Conferences, during which K-12 educators and administrators tour various Penn College program facilities and attend sessions on career and technical education. The next College and Career Readiness Conference is scheduled for Dec. 1.

To learn more about programs offered to schools through the Penn College Outreach for K-12 Office, visit online or call 570-320-8003.

For general information about the college, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7562 or through its Web portal.