SOUNDING OHFF: A Parent's Perspective

College-Now: A Parent’s perspective

During our son’s 8 th grade year he started taking an interest in the Engineering curriculum offered by Shelby Middle School. It was a chance occurrence that he was invited to attend Leader Richland that May. It was this event that put much of our son’s academic track in motion. While supporting this event I met one of the presenters, Tyler Shinaberry of Epik, LTD. We spoke about the change in work roles of my son’s generation and discussed how the Leader Richland event could be a source of inspiration for the students in attendance.

Tyler’s presentation at this event coupled by his uncle’s involvement in aerospace

changed how our son approached education. Engineering became a subject that really peaked his interest that he would often talk about it at home well after the school day was done.

During the high school years that followed he took most of the engineering classes Shelby High School offered. Nearing the end of his sophomore year we were quite perplexed while working with him on his Junior year class schedule. He desired to continue learning more about engineering and Shelby had little more to offer to him. We decided to start seeking out alternative learning opportunities for him to continue advancing his learning in a field he has grown to love. Over the past few years Tyler and I have become friends so I contacted him to see if he knew of any programs that would be good to further our son’s educational path. He mentioned a newer partnership between North Central State College and

Pioneer JVS called College-Now. This education option reminded me of a High School friend who attended college classes during our senior year in 1992. I remember thinking how great it was that he was taking college classes a year ahead of his peers and had a head start on his path in the next step of life.

While learning more about the College-Now Engineering program we discovered that our son would graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Engineering Technology prior to even getting his high school diploma. This really excited our son and after some discussion we all felt this was the right path for him. Working for over 20 years in higher education has taught me that the sooner someone is able to engage in college level learning the more likely they are to succeed. This program provides a pathway for students that are committed to success at the next academic level and challenges them more than a high school can provide.

We never really thought much about the affordability of college for our son. We are fortunate that our son’s tuition costs are offset to some extent by my employment benefits, but many parents and students don’t have this benefit. I even specifically chose to stay with my current employer after being offered a very lucrative position because of this benefit. The partnerships between the State of Ohio, North Central State College, and Pioneer JVS to deliver a program such as College-Now provides a mechanism for other families with academically determined students to get a head start on their education they would not

have available otherwise. The strategic position of vocational education to interface between both the state and colleges/universities is key to delivering these initiatives to the youth of our state. Increased visibility of these programs will also help in gaining additional momentum and inform the public of the unique opportunities available to Ohio’s students.

In closing, adjusting to college level learning takes some time and our son is no exception to that. He’s had some struggles this year he’s not experienced before and has come out with a better understanding of how and when to reach out to his professors for assistance. We look forward to our son’s continued educational advancement and are excited to see what the future holds for him.

Submitted by:

John R Ferguson III

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