Creating Equity and Access for High School Students

Creating Equity and Access For High School Students Dr Janet Spriggs Mar 2021

In March 2020, I would have hardly believed how the next twelve months would ensue. The thousands of virtual meetings, the pivoting to online instruction at breakneck speeds, and the sheer resilience of our Forsyth Tech family are just a few of the things that spring to mind as I think over this first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learned a lot over the last year and are excited about the differences we can make going forward. However, something that has not changed has been our strong focus on creating equity and economic mobility for the many students in Forsyth and Stokes counties.

One way that Forsyth Tech continues to reach for our vision, to fulfill our mission, and to be #APlaceOfPromise for everyone, is by participating in the Career and College Promise (CCP) program. Career and College Promise offers North Carolina high school students a clear path to success in college or a career. Through the partnership of the Department of Public Instruction, the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina system, and many independent colleges and universities, North Carolina is helping eligible high school students begin earning college credit at a community college campus at no cost to them or their families. This means that students are getting a college education while in high school for free! We firmly believe that this is one way to produce a healthy workforce, decrease equity gaps in our community, and save students thousands of tuition dollars.

Through this program, students earn college credit leading to certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. They can use these college credits and transfer to a four-year institution, or even go ahead and start a career with the job skills they received at Forsyth Tech. Career and College Promise is one way to keep students moving toward their future careers and saving students and families valuable time and money. If you think there is no way to afford a college education, Career and College Promise is the option for you.

More than 70,000 students across North Carolina participated in Career and College Promise last year, and for many colleges, 25-30 percent of their student population is CCP. However, at Forsyth Tech, only 14 percent of our students are enrolled in the program. We strive to be a leader among community colleges in our state, so we are working hard to increase this number and help as many students in Forsyth and Stokes Counties as possible.

The courses that a high school student takes through our CCP program are equivalent to an Advanced Placement (AP) course, and college transfer courses are even equivalent for GPAs on high school transcripts. By the time students graduate from high school, they can earn enough credits for a community college degree or credential.

By exploring college courses, tuition-free, students awaken their curiosity through a new academic world that can give them the confidence to thrive on a post-secondary level. The program prepares students ahead of time for college admission. It demonstrates college readiness and their standard of excellence. It introduces the “college experience” to students and offers a springboard to career plans, job training, skills, and certifications. Some students need the time to move from a high school environment to college, and Career and College Promise can be their bridge into campus life.

Education is the foundation for social and economic mobility.  As a community college, we are meant to meet students where they are, and take them as far as they can go. At Forsyth Tech, we are committed to equity and to being a place of promise for every student that comes through our doors. Providing Career and College Promise is just one of the ways we do that.

For more information on Career and College Promise, call the Educational Partnerships’ office at 336-734-7466 or email