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Gateway President Discusses Regional Academy

This article appears courtesy of RCN Partner KY Forward.

Written By G. Edward Hughes, President & CEO of Gateway Community & Technical College in Covington


The recent 2020 Jobs Outlook Report jointly produced by Vision 2015 and Agenda 360 provided trend data that are extremely useful to people who are planning to enter the job market in the next few years – and for the parents, educators and others who may be advising them.

Fact No. 1: The report found that occupations related to health care, education, business, finance, technology and production rank in that order as the fastest growing and best paying careers. Fact No. 2: Postsecondary education is required to land a well-paying job. According to the report, nine out of 10 jobs paying $33,130 a year or more will require some combination of postsecondary education, on-the-job training and/or work experience beyond one year.

The message is clear: If you want a good job, you have to develop the skills employers want. Beyond technical skills and computer proficiency, employers want people who can gather, process and communicate information; make decisions and solve problems; plan and organize their work; influence others; and work together in teams. This combination of technical and what used to be called “soft” skills is the focus of a community and technical college education.

It is never too soon to start building these skills. That is why Gateway Community and Technical College has introduced the Gateway Regional Academy (GRA), an early college program that enables students to begin earning college credits while they are still in high school. The advantages are many. A recent three-year study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University revealed that students who enroll in early college programs in high school are more likely to go to college than their peers. They are also more likely to stay in college. The study found that early college gives high school students a chance to see what college classes are like and boosts their confidence, which makes the transition from high school to college easier.

Currently, the Gateway Regional Academy is offering college classes to nearly 150 students from 17 Northern Kentucky public and parochial high schools, as well as students in home schools. GRA students can earn up to 24 college credit hours at half Gateway tuition or less. Depending on the college classes they take, GRA students may complete nearly all of their first year of college while still in high school, saving the students time and money toward a two-year or four-year degree. Gateway’s credits transfer by law to any public university in Kentucky, and, because Gateway is regionally accredited, to virtually any other college or university in the country.

Any high school student, age 16 or older, who has the minimum required SAT, ACT or COMPASS test scores may be admitted to the GRA. Gateway reserves specific classes for GRA students at its Boone and Edgewood campuses and at the Urban Center in Covington. However, any Gateway class, including those online, is available to GRA students as long as they meet class requirements and space is available. All services, such as free tutoring, career and transfer counseling, financial aid workshops for graduating seniors and advising are offered to GRA students. Students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average to remain in the GRA.

GRA classes observe the same schedule as Gateway’s regular classes. A new term begins Oct. 10. Students, parents or school systems interested in getting involved with the Gateway Regional Academy can call Shelby Krentz, director of Early College Initiatives, 859-815-7648, [email protected] And one more fact: Those six fastest-growing careers in our region? Gateway offers postsecondary programs in all of them.

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