"CTE Partnership/After Dark" Program

High school juniors from Salem, Peabody, Gloucester and Beverly can now enroll in a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) partnership program with Essex North Shore Technical and Agricultural School and North Shore Community College (NSCC) where they can simultaneously earn workforce skills and college credit at no cost to them. 

This “CTE Partnership/After Dark” program is funded by the state Department of Early and Secondary Education and recognizes innovative Career Vocational Technical Education pathways with an altered delivery schedule through the partnership of a student's enrolled district and a district with established vocational education programs.  Funding priority is given to oversubscribed schools and programs, especially those in Gateway Cities.

Core academics are provided at a participating high school in the morning, then students can take up to 900+ total hours of technical instruction at Essex Tech every day 11:30-2:30.  Additionally, students can then earn up to 24 college credits from classes at NSCC.

Essex Tech technical program offerings are dictated by workforce needs as well as student interest and currently includes construction craft laborer, advanced manufacturing, design and media communication, auto collision and sustainable horticulture. 

Students can earn up to 9 college credits by articulation, and have the opportunity to take transferable college courses such as speech, composition, economics, precalculus, and physics at NSCC. The combination of articulated credits and college coursework could result in up to 24 credits towards an associate degree that focuses on the students’ CTE Program. 

Essex Tech Superintendent Dr. Heidi Riccio explained, “CTE partnerships are developing as the demand for vocational education rises and waiting lists emerge. Students may well qualify, but there is just not the capacity to teach them. By utilizing varied hours to create three “shifts” a day – our own high school students, CTE Partnership/After Dark students and our NightHawks Adult Education Program, we open the doors to many more students.”

“One of the most unique aspects of the program is our partnership with NSCC,” said Bonnie Carr, Essex Tech Director of Workforce Development and Adult Education. “Our goal with this program is to provide workforce skills that are in demand and to familiarize students with going to college and encourage them to continue after they graduate from high school. If students maximize the program, they can graduate high school with marketable job skills and industry credentials and college credits.” 

NSCC’s Dean of Strategic Partnerships Adam Cutler noted, “What I think is most exciting about this program is that it creates an opportunity for more people to access education. We have an aging workforce with not enough people to fill the positions that will be vacated. If we can get young people used to the college experience and motivated to continue their studies beyond high school graduation, regional employers will have a broader pool of trained and educated workers.”  

The Essex Tech/NSCC After Dark program began in the fall of 2019. It proved successful with 26 initial students and plans are underway to include new technical programs in the future. Both Essex Tech and the sending high school partners have been instrumental in providing transportation for these students. 

Spring classes at NSCC for this program will begin the first week of February. Students currently participating in the CTE Partnership/After Dark Program or their parents who would like more information about this class or to register should contact Maryanne Gearin, M.Ed, CTE Expansion Liaison at mgearin@essextech.net.

This program is a unique hybrid of the Commonwealth’s existing dual enrollment partnership program which provides opportunities for Massachusetts high school students to take college-level courses for free or at a discounted price and earn credit toward high school completion and their future college degrees. 

Participating students gain in demand high quality technical skills and an early college experience with meaningful and challenging academic courses that they might otherwise not have had available to them.  For low-income, underrepresented or first-to-college students, involvement with dual enrollment might be their first exposure to college or the first time they considered college as a possibility.  Ultimately, the goal of CTE Partnership/After Dark Program is to increase the opportunity for more students to gain high quality workforce skills and gainful employment all while creating a population of high school graduates who are college ready.


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