Article: A Pathway to Achievement - Computers, Networks, and Emerging Technology in the News

A Pathway to Achievement

By John K. Waters.

September 1, 2008—Reprinted from T.H.E. Journal (full article)

An innovative IT skills program is laying students a trail between high school, higher education, and ultimately, the job market.

CLINT JOHNS, TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR and teacher at Irvington High School in Fremont, CA, is determined to create what he calls "seamless pathways" between his school's students and both the modern job market and the demands of higher education.

"We're looking for meaningful and relevant connections between what students are learning in the classroom and the job skills companies are looking for in the years to come," Johns says. "Technology training is the logical link, but this isn't a trade school, so this challenge for us is also very much about infusing technology within courses to gear kids for college."

For Irvington, a Bay Area public high school serving about 2,000 students, that pursuit of a "logical link" led to a collaboration with nearby Ohlone College. Ohlone, a community college with campuses in Fremont and Newark, CA, enrolls 18,000 students per year on campus and online. The school offers 184 degrees and academic programs, and every year more than 500 Ohlone students transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

The Irvington-Ohlone partnership revolves around the college's Career Pathway in Information and Communication Technology. The ICT program is designed to lead high school students through courses that prepare them to enroll in a community college and then transfer to a university for baccalaureate degrees with a computer science or engineering focus.

"The strongest connection right now between K-12 and higher education is the community college," says Richard Grotegut, professor of computer networking and emerging technology at Ohlone. "We're typically thought of as the vocational, tech-training arm of the educationalsystem, but community colleges also serve as an academic bridge between high school and the universities. In this case, the focus just happens to be information technology."

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