The Early College STEM program prepares students at Oakland Mills High School who are interested in earning a college degree for a future career in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Successful students will earn their high school diploma and an associate degree within one year of graduating from high school. This means a jump start on a career or a faster path to a bachelor’s degree.
The demand for highly trained STEM professionals has grown, and students are finding that these skills are in demand by businesses and organizations large and small. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which cites the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “the United States would need to increase its yearly production of undergraduate STEM degrees by 34 percent over current rates to match the demand forecast for STEM professionals.”
Starting in the 9th grade, students will be engaged in college-preparation coursework. In 10th grade, students will begin participating in classes with their Early College cohort, a small group of college-bound high school students with the same focus on science and mathematics education. They will continue to take high school courses, but the school will identify their aptitudes and abilities, and apply that knowledge to career and college exploration.
In the 11th grade, students will begin taking a few college courses taught by Howard Community College professors at Oakland Mills High School. By their senior year, students will exclusively be enrolled in college courses at Howard Community College, and transportation will be provided from Oakland Mills High School to and from HCC. All college courses will simultaneously apply to students’ high school graduation requirements.
Once students successfully graduate from high school, they will have already earned 30 college credits, and they will attend HCC full time as a second year student. At HCC, students will work toward the final 30 credits necessary to earn their associate degree. In addition, students will receive opportunities to participate in internship experiences and receive one-on-one support to write a career-ready resume and to prepare for job interviews.