RAWLINS -- Carbon County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) has become the first and only certified school in Wyoming to offer its pre-engineering high school students a chance to earn college credit through Project Lead the Way (PLTW).
PLTW is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on increasing the quality and quantity of engineers by exposing high school and middle school students to the field of engineering prior to entering college.
Certification through PLTW is required for both the program and the teacher in order to offer courses for college credit. Teachers must successfully complete a 2-week intense training for each class that they offer. The program is certified through an application process, fulfilling specific computer and equipment requirements and a site visit by PLTW.
According to the school’s release, CCHEC became the first and only certified school in Wyoming after a site visit in April. Jonathan Larson, CCHEC's pre-engineering and technology education instructor, is currently certified to teach two PLTW courses: Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. Larson will attend training this summer at Rochester Institute of Technology to become certified to teach digital electronics next fall.
"It's a good experience to learn what engineering is really about and what engineers really do," Larson explained. "It's also a great opportunity to receive college credit before graduating high school."
To earn the credit, CCHEC's pre-engineering high school students, who are bused from Rawlins High School, have the option at the end of the semester to complete an additional part of the final exam. If they pass the class with an 85 percent or better and score a 70 percent or better on the extra portion of the exam, they are eligible to receive college credit. Thirty-five affiliate schools in the United States will recognize the student's work at CCHEC for college credit.
Four out of the seven high school seniors currently in Larson's classes are considering an engineering-related field.
"My child would have never thought of engineering as a profession but thanks to Mr. Larson and the program at CCHEC, he is considering engineering as his field of study in college," explained parent, Shelly Collier.
A partnership team that consists of civil engineers from the Wyoming Department of Transportation work with Larson to discuss what engineers need to know once they are in the working world.
"It's important that the students leave the class with a good understanding of what to expect in the field of engineering," Larson said, "and we make sure to have a fun time while doing it."
For more information, contact CCHEC at 307-328-9274.
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