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SMCC Unveils an Unique Program

Beginning January 1, 2010 St. Marys Education Department will implement a new post secondary“Career Path.” The Career Path will be coordinated between the West Virginia Department of Education at SMCC, St. Marys Division of Corrections, and West Virginia University at Parkersburg. The Career Path incorporates current SMCC courses: academic, transitional, and vocational to afford students the opportunity to complete the following Technical Studies Certificates: Business Technology, Computer Technology, Microsoft (MS) Office, and HVAC & Electrical. The credits earned will fold into a Board of Governors A.A.S Degree when supplemented with additional general education credits.

Ultimately, the Board of Governors A.A.S Degree plus upper division credits will reach the Regents Bachelor of Arts level. The Career Path allows a student to chart an educational path that best suits their individual preferences and skills. These skills will aide students as they prepare for life, and transition into the workforce. At the Annual CTE/ABE Community Resource Meeting, that was held March 23, 2010, the Career Path was officially presented and signed.

Before the official signing took place, Dr. Paul Milhoan offered comments in regard to the success of individuals who have obtained a College Degree while incarcerated by stating, “Our most recent graduate received a Bachelor of Arts Degree; he has since been
released, and has begun to apply what he learned in his community.” The signing was initiated by WVU-P Assistant Dean/Director of Non-Traditional Programs Dr. Paul Milhoan, participants included: WVU-P President Marie Gnage, Warden William Fox, OIEP Superintendent
Fran Warsing, and the Principal of St. Marys Education Department, Judy Burkle.

Student representatives that were on hand to witness this educational milestone gave remarks praising all participating parties for working tirelessly to provide higher education opportunities. One representative
remarked “Because I am forty seven people ask me why I continue to enroll in classes. I tell them it is simple, one of the leading causes of my incarceration was low self esteem. Through the act of gaining an education I now know that I have the confidence to be successful.”
At present date, there are several students who are working to meet the requirements of the Technical Studies Certificates; these students
are on pace to receive Certificates during the upcoming Student Graduation Ceremony that is scheduled for June.

As a result of implementation of the Career Path, student enthusiasm for Post Secondary programming has been evident through sign-ups. Since the program was initiated in January the number of residents
signing up to participate has been substantially higher. In addition to partnerships, the implementation of the Career Path would not be successful if not for the Post Secondary Instructors who work nonstop to insure that the quality of each student’s education remains high. By adopting the Career Path, the St. Marys Education Department is continuing to insure lives will be transformed through education.


Posted: June 2, 2010