Southeastern, Northshore Technical College partner in pilot program to expand college access
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University and Northshore Technical College are piloting a program this semester in an attempt to expand student access to post-secondary education and workforce training on the northshore.
Through the partnership, students who did not meet the new higher admission standards at Southeastern are enrolled with Northshore Technical College (NTC) in developmental math and English courses. The students can also work toward industry-based certifications, participate in workforce training opportunities and obtain career counseling. NTC is teaching the courses on the Southeastern campus, using the university’s established curricula and faculty who meet the necessary qualifications required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools so that the course credits will be readily transferrable to Southeastern or other post-secondary education institutions.
“The GRAD Act legislation enacted last year encourages universities to raise admission standards and collaborate more closely with community and technical colleges,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “We hope this program, as it grows and evolves, will help ensure access to post-secondary education for students who do not meet our increased admissions criteria and who do not have convenient access to community college services in their particular communities. By partnering closely with Northshore Technical College, the program also allows us to share resources so students can be served more efficiently.”
William Wainwright, Northshore dean and regional director, said the pilot project emerged from a rapid response opportunity which identified demand occupations in the region to include training in green technology and computer information technology.
“Working closely with Southeastern’s administration, we identified students who didn’t meet the university’s admission requirements. We wanted to be able to provide them with the opportunity to meet those entrance requirements while also being engaged in a relevant technical training program leading to employment opportunities within the region,” Wainwright said.
He said a long-standing cooperative relationship with Southeastern made the partnership on the pilot program easy to implement.
“We both have the best interests of the students at heart,” he added. “These students will be able to continue at NTC, transfer to Southeastern or pursue some other work readiness program. The effort is designed to promote job readiness, expand student access, and create opportunities for students that will enhance career planning and increase workforce participation.”
The students enrolled in the program have expressed appreciation for the new opportunities open to them. NTC Katherine Norman of Ponchatoula said she feels she can now focus strongly on her education. “This is helping me out, especially in math. I feel like a part of Southeastern’s campus life,” she said.
Kimberly Raggio, also of Ponchatoula, said she loves the fact that her English class is small and she gets a lot of “hands-on” teaching in the classroom. “I’m already looking forward to taking more classes over the summer.”
Both students say they plan to eventually become Southeastern students.
NTC’s main Sullivan Campus is located in Bogalusa, with smaller campuses in Hammond and Greensburg. The new program – while drawing most of its initial students from the Hammond area – is intended to eventually serve other areas of the northshore that currently lack convenient access to community college services.
More enrollees are anticipated as the program becomes more firmly established and recognized.
The Southeastern-NTC partnership also facilitates student access and avoids duplication of effort through joint admissions and advising processes. For example, a single admissions application is being used to simplify the admissions process.
In the new partnership with NTC, Southeastern is providing space for classrooms, computer labs and offices. Students enrolled in the program also have access to all university support services such as the library and computer labs as well as campus amenities, including food services and use of the Student Union.
“We are hoping this program will help bridge the gap for these students,” Crain said. “Some who desire to pursue a degree with us may become admissible and transfer, while others may choose to pursue completion of their educational goals with Northshore Technical. Either way, it works. Southeastern and Northshore Technical College have always enjoyed a good relationship, and from the very first discussions about this program, we agreed to keep the focus on doing what is best for our students. Our institutions share a strong commitment to the success of our students.”
Since adopting admission standards initially in 2000, Southeastern has developed partnerships with Delgado Community College, River Parishes Community College and Baton Rouge Community College in order to help ensure access for students not meeting university-level admission requirements.