(Akron, OH – Feb.20, 2020) – Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James, Stark State College President Dr. Para Jones and University of Cincinnati School of Information Technology Professor and Director Dr. Hazem Said announced a new partnership on Thursday to ensure students in the Information Technology Pathway at Kenmore-Garfield High School have a path to a college education.
The agreement gives students an opportunity to complete up to 43 hours of college credit while in high school and earn admission into The University of Cincinnati (UC). Students who complete their freshman year of the IT bachelor’s program while in high school will also be eligible to participate in a co-op supported by UC upon graduation. The income from the co-op can then be used to pay for tuition and books.
John DiDinato, the Information Technology Pathway teacher at Kenmore-Garfield, will be credentialed as a College Credit Plus (CCP) adjunct instructor to teach CCP courses for Stark State College. The program and college credits are provided at no cost to the students.
“This is a big win for our students both academically and financially,” Superintendent David James, Ed.D. said. “Earning college credits and working a co-op to offset the cost of tuition gives our students a huge advantage to earn a degree while minimizing student loan debt.” Dr. Hazem Said added, “In a talent and information economy, we must all come together to create innovative opportunities for our students. The Early IT program seeks to significantly increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of the state’s IT talent pool. We, at UC, are very excited to work with Stark State and Akron Public Schools to bring this program to students at Kenmore-Garfield”
The program will even benefit students who do not plan to obtain a 4-year college degree. Students can go on to finish their associate’s degree at Stark State College, transfer their credits to a school of their choice, or enter the workforce in the high-demand field of information technology. Students are also eligible to earn two industry credentials before they graduate high school.
“As sister college to Kenmore-Garfield High School, we are eager for students to take advantage of this pathway and become well-positioned for careers in demand in our region,” said Dr. Para Jones, Stark State president. “Information technology is a vast and growing field, and Stark State College is one of the leading higher education producers of IT graduates, which speaks to the quality of education and training provided.”