By Genaro C. Armas
April 28, 2022
Expanding programs that allow high school students to earn valuable college credits before enrolling in higher education could save money and speed up the time it takes to earn a degree and find a job.
Growing what’s known in education circles as “dual enrollment programs” was one of the ideas presented by attendees at a roundtable discussion Wednesday at UWM at Washington County led by UW System Interim President Michael Falbo and UWM Chancellor Mark Mone.
Other suggestions from community members, who included school district superintendents, chamber of commerce leaders and elected officials, included making it easier for students to transfer credits between UW System institutions, and between technical colleges and the four-year system colleges and universities; and offering more programs for “badges” or credentialing that allow students, including those in mid-career, to earn educational certificates.
Tom Hostad, executive director of the Hartford Area Development Corp., said he was working with the university and other leaders to expand UWM continuing education opportunities in the Washington County community. Such opportunities can play an important role in retaining employees at a time when many businesses are having a hard time attracting or keeping workers.
“For too long … education beyond high school has been campus-based. We want to be able to bring or create a campus in Hartford where our employers can send their people to get the kind of additional training, or ‘upskilling,’ they need to become valuable employees,” Hostad said.
“That’s a great example and we want to scale that,” Mone said. Attracting students “is one thing, but retention is even more important for long-term growth.”