Summer College Credit Program

July is going to be huge for Audubon High School senior Connor Christensen. Not only will he celebrate his 18th birthday, he will also complete his course in electrical trades through the Summer College Credit Program, keeping him on track for his future college and career pathway.

Since his junior year, Connor has been taking concurrent enrollment classes through Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) new Templeton Regional Center. Through an exploratory career academy -- which offers students opportunities to try out and shadow different areas such as welding, advanced manufacturing, electrical trades and building trades – Connor found his niche in wiring and the field of electrical trades.

“I’ve enjoyed learning so far about what it takes to become an electrician,” he said. “The exploratory course has included math, job shadowing, developing communication skills and understanding welding and safety.”

Summer College Credit Program

The Summer College Credit Program allows Connor to continue his studies in electrical trades during the summer months, all at no cost to him.

“The Summer College Credit Program is a great opportunity for students,” said Jen Rathje, Senior Year Plus consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. “The program is funded through a legislated appropriation totaling $600,000, which allows students to take college-level classes for free and get ahead during the summer.”

Entering into its fifth year of operation, the Summer College Credit Program has served over 5,300 high school students from across Iowa. All 15 Iowa community colleges participate in the Summer College Credit Program and partner with local school districts to offer courses in high-demand job fields to students. High school students entering ninth through 12th grades are eligible to participate in the Summer College Credit Program, and this year, over 35 career and technical education programs in health sciences, applied sciences, technology, engineering, manufacturing and more are being offered statewide.

Summer College Credit Program

“It’s a huge benefit,” Connor said. “It’s free college credit to learn new things and more modern techniques. This summer, I’ve gotten to learn more about PLC (programming logic controls).”

Like many other students across the state, Connor is from rural Iowa. The Summer College Credit Program provides a chance for all high schoolers, including those in more remote areas, to experience college course opportunities – and in return, students have shown high interest.

“We have filled 76 seats in Summer College Credit Program courses this year (at the Carroll and Templeton locations), which is fantastic,” said Jen Wollesen, DMACC Carroll area career advantage site director. “We are always looking for ways to provide or expand opportunities to area students in rural Iowa, and the Summer College Credit Program has allowed us to do that.”

The DMACC Carroll campus and Templeton Regional Center’s Summer College Credit Program offers courses in welding, pre-nursing and electrical trades. Students from eight surrounding school districts are participating in courses lasting eight to 12 weeks.

After this summer, Connor plans to continue his college-level coursework in electrical trades during his senior year through the concurrent enrollment program. He anticipates graduating with a high school diploma from Audubon High School as well as a diploma in electrical trades from DMACC next year. After that, the sky’s the limit.

Summer College Credit Program

“I already have an idea for what I will do after graduation,” he said. “With my diploma from DMACC, there are employers looking to hire you right out of high school. I’ll be able to get a job and enter into an apprenticeship program. It’s pretty cool.”