(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus and the Red Oak Independent School District began a partnership in 2013 that continues to grow and benefit students.
TSTC’s North Texas campus was originally opened due to the partnership with Red Oak ISD.
“TSTC first began operations in a district-owned building offering a few programs,” Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus, said. “The ISD donated the land that the current campus sits on, (and) classes were first offered in this building in the fall of 2016.”
Since then the partnership has continued to grow. It now includes dual- and traditional-enrollment courses, TSTC classrooms leased for Red Oak ISD’s career and technical education (CTE) classes, participation of TSTC on the Red Oak ISD Education Foundation board, and the support of Red Oak ISD’s police on the TSTC campus.
“It definitely benefits (students) because they are able to earn their dual-credit courses, they’re able to be exposed to real industry programs, and (to be exposed) to industries that will actually enable them to make a good income and become productive citizens in our community as it’s growing,” Jennifer Jeter, director of CTE for Red Oak ISD, said.
Jeter commented on the multiple opportunities that the partnership offers students and said she felt the important thing for people to know was the common goal that Red Oak ISD and TSTC have.
“People need to know is that there is a common goal for the students, for them to be productive members of our community, and that we are providing them with an affordable way to start their life after high school, career-ready and able to walk into a high-demand job such as diesel, welding, an engineering type of job, and HVAC,” she said. “High-demand, high-wage positions are available for them when they graduate high school if they take the opportunity.”
Red Oak ISD students are able to take dual-enrollment courses at a discounted rate of about $50 per class and in some cases are able to fully enroll at TSTC to take traditional classes while still in high school.
“Dual-enrollment participation continues to rise, and more and more graduates are realizing the opportunities that exist through our college,” Balch said.
Jeter echoed the sentiment and said the partnership offers students a new perspective on what life after high school could look like.
“There are some really great opportunities for students who may not want to go to a four-year college, and they can get this done while they’re in high school or at least get a big head start into a career pathway that is (of) high demand in Texas,” she said. “They don’t have to go away to college and take out huge loans. They can do it now and be ready when they graduate.”
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.