Approximately 250 high school students enrolled in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program will earn nearly 3,000 postsecondary credits during the 2015-16 school year due to continued funding from Governor Paul LePage and the Maine Legislature for the Bridge Year Program. Nearly 40 percent of these students are in their second year of the program and are on course to graduate high school, in June of 2016, with up to 30 college credits. This will put them well on their way to earning an associate degree within 12 months after graduation.
Bridge Year Program courses are taught by sending high school instructors who have been approved by the university and/or community college and will cost students just $40 per credit hour – considerably less than the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System’s current tuition rate. In addition to the college credits, students concurrently receive a technical skills-based education through their CTE center that will put them on a career track in occupations including those related to automotive, business, electronics, equipment maintenance and repair, health and public safety.
The Governor’s recently approved budget included $1 million to continue the program into the 2016-17 academic year, which will allow additional high school CTE students an opportunity to earn postsecondary credit. Fred Woodman, executive director of the Bridge Year Program, anticipates that Bridge Year will partner with approximately 50 percent of Maine’s secondary CTE schools during the 2016-17 year to provide opportunity to an estimated 500 high school CTE students, from about 21 Maine high schools, to earn approximately 6,000 college credits. This amazing opportunity has been successful due to the nonprofit Bridge Year which provides professional development for staff, stipends for college professors, summer academies for students, and guidance for students both during the two years of high school and the year following high school.
For more information on the Bridge Year Program, contact Career and Technical Education Consultant, Donna Tiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6731. More information about Career and Technical Education in Maine can be found at www.maine.gov/doe/cte.