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Menomonie students will have the opportunity to earn free college credits this summer in a new partnership between the Menomonie School District and Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Menomonie students will have the chance to take free dual-credit classes through the CVTC Academies program, beginning in June, in topics like IT software development, culinary arts and health technology.

CVTC has partnered with school districts in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, and is expanding its partnership with the Menomonie School District this summer.

The Menomonie School District’s summer course offerings were mostly remedial until now, said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Brian Seguin.

“This discussion really started about three years ago … we’ve had a longstanding partnership with CVTC on offering dual-credit courses. This was a natural next step,” Seguin said.

The district began offering a certified nursing assistant academy with CVTC in 2018, based on the Chippewa Valley’s workforce needs, said CVTC’s director of K-12 initiatives Kristel Tavare.

That CNA course met with “a lot of student success and … a lot of student interest,” Tavare said.

From there, the district began eyeing expanding the program, Tavare said.

If they’re accepted into the class of their choice, Menomonie students will earn both high school and college credit for the courses. The school district pays the tuition, making the courses free for students.

All courses are taught by CVTC instructors, and most are hosted at CVTC campuses or facilities in the Chippewa Valley. Some are also available online.

Some courses are offered in summer, and some in the fall and spring semesters. The fall will bring a few more offerings, including a machine tool academy and a truck driving academy, Tavare said.

Registration for the academies through spring of 2020 opened Jan. 1, and some summer and fall 2019 courses are already full, Tavare said.

The following courses will be available to Menomonie School District students in the summer of 2019:

  • Certified nursing assistant
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Introduction to health information technology
  • Introduction to industrial electricity
  • Introduction to small engines, automobiles and diesel trucks
  • IT software development
  • Residential construction
  • State-certified firefighter I academy
  • Liberal arts, including college algebra, introduction to astronomy, speech and prep for basic chemistry.

Most academies start June 10 and end by Aug. 2, Tavare said, with the week of the Fourth of July off. Some academies do not meet every day.

“We’re really trying to tap into programming that is outside the traditional coursework they would see in school,” Tavare said.

Some academies are limited in space – the Menomonie School District’s CNA academy is limited to eight seats, others accept up to 27 students per course – so Tavare recommends applying early, though there are waitlists if students drop the courses later.

Students should apply at CVTC’s website, http://cvtc.edu/hsacademies" target="_blank">http://cvtc.edu/hsacademies. The Menomonie High School will review applicants and approve them for the course “if (it’s) a good fit for the student,” Tavare said.

The Menomonie school board will hear about the program later in January, though they are not slated to take formal action, Seguin said.

Menomonie students value chances to earn dual credit, Seguin said.

“Anytime we’ve added dual credit opportunities we’ve gotten a very positive response, both from students as well as families … especially when you start to take a look at college and postsecondary affordability,” he said.

For a full list of CVTC Academies and to apply, visit http://cvtc.edu/hsacademies.

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Dunn County News editor

Sarah Seifert edits and reports for the Dunn County News. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-450-1557 or at editor@dunnconnect.com.

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