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(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas and the Ennis Independent School District will partner to provide dual enrollment classes to high school students starting this fall.

Ennis High School students have the choice of taking TSTC’s Cybersecurity program online or Electrical Power and Controls, Diesel Equipment Technology or Welding Technology programs in person at TSTC’s Red Oak campus, said Marsha Semelfort, TSTC’s dual enrollment recruitment representative.

“We believe we will have strong numbers for this first year of participation,” she said.

Eric Pierce, Ennis ISD’s director of postsecondary readiness, said the selected programs generated the most interest from the school district’s students in grades six to 12 who took a Google survey. Middle school students will not be eligible to take dual enrollment classes.

When Ennis’ dual enrollment students graduate from high school, they will have taken four college courses they can build on at TSTC to earn certificates of completion or associate degrees.

Jim Wehmeier, economic development director for the city of Ennis, said some of the city’s youth know early on that a four-year university may not be for them. He said the school district’s work with TSTC shows students that they have options in pursuing a postsecondary education.

“We want to train those students that have an interest and aptitude for the trades, and then keep them in Ennis to support and build their families here locally,” he said.

The school district has received local support for the dual enrollment effort, with money being contributed to provide funds for scholarships for needs-based students.

“We have a lot of Ennis students (who go to TSTC) in our backyard,” said Rusty Hicks, The TSTC Foundation’s corporate development officer. “We have business partners there. There is a huge market there.”

Pierce and TSTC staff saw how interested Ennis residents are in the college during a recent Ennis ISD Day at TSTC. He said about 50 parents and students attended the recent weekend event to tour the TSTC campus and learn more about its programs and dual enrollment.

“The tone around Ennis ISD is very exciting,” Pierce said. “Every step we take is a positive step.”

For more information, go to tstc.edu.


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