YORK — A $62,500 Duke Energy grant to York schools will enable at least 250 students to take a minimum of two dual credit courses during high school, officials said Monday.
York school district leaders with Rick Jiran, Duke Energy’s district manager for government and community relations, announced the grant at York Comprehensive High School. It is, they said, a prime example of businesses and schools teaming up to help students.
“This is about workforce development and community development,” Jiran said of the grant. He said the dual-credit program “is easy to support. It is industry working with today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.”
The grant will benefit students in York’s middle college program, who can take classes at York Technical College and earn high school and college credit at the same time.
The middle college program targets low socioeconomic groups who might not otherwise go to college. The district transports students to the Rock Hill campus four days a week and picks up the cost of tuition and books.
Superintendent Vernon Prosser said the York district also foots the bill for students not in the middle college program to take dual-credit classes on the YCHS campus, through York Tech and the University of South Carolina at Lancaster. Those students will benefit, too.
“The program is wonderful, and Duke has allowed us to continue to do some of the things we do,” Prosser said. “They put the focus on the classroom learning. This is for the students, for them to get a jump start on college.”
The four-year-old middle college program, which began in Clover schools and was quickly expanded to York schools, began with about a dozen York students. It has grown each year, Prosser said.
He said the grant will allow the middle college program and other dual-credit offerings to be expanded. “It adds to what we’re already doing,” he said. “Duke is helping us do more at a faster rate.”
Jiran noted that employers are seeking to hire students who have more than just a diploma. “It’s about being ready to enter the work force,” he said. “This is just one of many great program we see in schools throughout the area.”