SHS Senior Earns Apprenticeship, Free Tuition After Taking Dual-Credit Manufacturing Course

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Jonathan is posing with a personalized Innovative Components shirt presented to him from Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, and wears a Harper College hat presented to him by Dr. Mary Beth Ottinger, Dean of Career and Technical Programs at Harper College.

Jonathan (center) is posing with a personalized Innovative Components shirt presented to him from Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, and wears a Harper College hat presented to him by Dr. Mary Beth Ottinger, dean of Career and Technical Programs at Harper College.

More District 211 students are recognizing the benefits of taking dual-credit courses, which allow students to earn college credit and gain technical skills while still in high school.

As of the 2015 – 2016 school year, District 211 offers more than 50 dual-credit courses through three different local colleges. Courses include Certified Nursing Assistant, Project Lead the Way, Manufacturing, and more.

Through dual-credit, students are essentially taking a first-year college course that can transfer to a college after they graduate. This can save money for a student’s first year of college or technical training while preparing them for the coursework they will encounter once they begin their studies.

Students are also using the skills they learn in dual-credit courses to gain employment in their desired field while still in school. Schaumburg High School Senior Jonathan Ramirez recently earned an apprenticeship with a local company in Schaumburg, Innovative Components.

“I feel like Manufacturing is the field where I need to be,” Jonathan said. “I want to do something big within manufacturing and this opportunity will help me do that. Manufacturing at Schaumburg gave me a good idea of what the job is like because we do hands-on work. I really fell in love with it and it’s good experience.”

Jonathan will work at Innovative Components after graduation. While he works there, the company will pay for him to earn his associate degree at Harper College while keeping him on the job. Mike O’Connor, president of Innovative Components, said programs like SHS’ Manufacturing and the company’s apprenticeship allow students to get involved with their field early, as well as earn credits while they learn. He also said employees are encouraged to continue education after they have finished their associate degree.

Students that follow a path similar to Jonathan can earn dual-credit during school, while also learning technical skills and certifications for a career after graduation.