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Thomas Edison State University Awarded Grant for State Dual Enrollment Pilot Program

Thomas Edison State University Awarded Grant for State Dual Enrollment Pilot Program

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a recipient of a grant from the Department of Education (DOE) and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE). The grant, part of the State Dual Enrollment Pilot Program, aims to create and expand high-quality dual enrollment programs across New Jersey school districts.

The State Dual Enrollment Pilot Program, a key initiative under the New Jersey State Plan for Higher Education, received funding recommendations from the New Jersey Dual Enrollment Study Commission. This program focuses on increasing access to dual enrollment opportunities, particularly for under-resourced student populations, aligning with Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to providing affordable access to quality college education. A total of $500,000 in grants was awarded for the creation and expansion of high-quality dual enrollment programs in four school districts across the state.

TESU has been selected to collaborate with Hillside Public School District for the Career Connections Carpenter’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program currently being implemented at Hillside. Under this partnership, TESU has formed an articulation agreement with Hillside Public School District. Through TESU’s commitment related to prior learning, TESU recognizes the Career Connections program as equivalent to 16 college-level credits, applicable toward a certificate, associate or bachelor’s program either at TESU or transferrable to another institution.

The Dual Enrollment Pilot Program will cover TESU’s transcription costs for pre-apprentices, with most of the funding directed to Hillside Public School District to support the implementation of the Career Connections Pre-Apprenticeship program.

“TESU was founded upon the principles of recognizing college-level learning wherever and however it may occur,” said Dr. Jeffrey Harmon, vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Institutional Effectiveness. “Fifty years after our founding, we not only continue to keep prior learning as a core principle of our mission, but we are constantly innovating ways to evaluate and recognize college-level learning.”

The collaboration with Hillside Public School District exemplifies TESU’s dedication to offering students a chance to combine a higher education degree with a career in the trades. Through credit recognition and flexible transfer policies, TESU empowers apprentices and pre-apprentices to simultaneously achieve their vocational training and earn a college degree.

“TESU has seamlessly intertwined vocational training and the pursuit of a higher education degree into a single, streamlined pathway for learners,” said Harmon. “Through recognition of prior learning for college credit, we can help learners leverage their training into college credit and these endeavors accelerate students toward degree completion while saving them both time and money.  This work could not be realized in a vacuum and partnership is essential. We are grateful for our two- and four-year partner colleges, unions and apprenticeship program partners and vocational schools for joining us in this work.”

The State Dual Enrollment Pilot Program represents an exciting development in New Jersey’s ongoing commitment to elevating education opportunity,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “The Dual Enrollment Pilot Program provides more students with enhanced pathways to earn college credits, ensuring that access to higher education is expanded and diversified. It is an investment to cultivate an equitable learning environment for all students.”

“Dual enrollment opportunities have not traditionally been available to students from under-resourced communities,” said Dr. Brian K. Bridges, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education. “By expanding New Jersey’s dual enrollment partnerships through this funding, we continue to break down barriers to ensure greater numbers of high school students are given the opportunity to pursue postsecondary pathways and to succeed. Equipping a diverse pool of learners in this way is critical in developing the workforce needed to fuel New Jersey’s future.”

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