CVTC college degree program for high schoolers expands over the years

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:08 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A college in the Chippewa Valley has been helping build the futures of high school students in the region, saving families millions of dollars in college expenses.

Chippewa Valley Technical College began it’s “High School Academy” program with three school districts and offering just an IT and nursing programs about 7 years ago.

“We started with about 22 students back in 2016, and this year we have about 1,000 students that are earning their college degrees or working towards earning their college degree while being in high school. Students are successful, they’re having a great experience,” said Kristel Tavare, the program director. “They are working with their instructors realizing that college is for them.”

Students now have more options for degrees, including business and welding.

“From there we have expanded based on what the high schools have asked for. We have worked very closely with our high schools to identify what gaps they have in their curriculum, and they reach out to us to say this is a need, this is an interest that our students have.”

Tuition is covered by the student’s school district, only approving their applications for the program if deemed fit to handle the added workloads.

Students in the Eau Claire Area School District benefitted from the model for years.

“It’s very exciting to offer those opportunities. We do have 6 students this year that are graduating with a Business Associate’s Degree from CVTC. We have 5 students graduating with a medical assistance degree. So, it is very exciting for us to see that happen,” said Michelle Radtke.

Administrators are happy to be a part of the change in education.

“I think we are under a changing landscape with what college is. How kids acquire credits. And I do believe it will be around for a long time,” said Radtke.

With the partnerships appearing to shape the future of the Chippewa Valley itself.

“It’s been awesome just to see these students find their passion. And many of them get hired here in our communities and they chose to stay,” said Tavare.

Applications for Summer programs are now open and can be found here.

Tavare said CVTC is partnering with 49 high schools in the region, with plans to expand the High School Academies for Welding in Bloomer and Pre-Nursing in Menononie.

It will also be expanding on its virtual programs to help with any travel barriers students may face.