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Innovative partnership provides path from Journeywork to Associate to Bachelor's Degree

by NDSCS News

Posted on 3/16/2011

Valley City State University (VCSU) and the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) today entered into an articulation agreement that allows for transfer of credits from the Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical Studies - Journeyworker Track at NDSCS to the Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education from VCSU. The agreement is the first of its kind in North Dakota and is designed to help non-traditional students realize the benefit of three types of credentials: U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs, Associate in Applied Science degrees, and Bachelor of Science degrees.

"With this agreement, NDSCS and VCSU are providing an alternative path for individuals to earn Bachelor's degrees while leveraging their technical education and career experience," said Dr. John Richman, president of the North Dakota State College of Science. "Individuals can start their career as an apprentice, become a journeyworker, earn an associate degree and culminate with a Bachelor's degree."

Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU president, said, "This collaborative agreement addresses some of the main obstacles adult learners face as they further their education. By earning credit for their work experiences as well as their study at the Associate degree level, adult learners can substantially reduce the time and cost required to earn a Bachelor's degree. Moreover, individuals who complete this path will possess enhanced career skills that respond to private sector demands and help meet employment needs in North Dakota."

The articulation agreement allows students to apply technical credits earned under a NDSCS Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical Studies - Journeyworker Track towards VCSU's B.S. degree in Career and Technical Education. These credits transfer through VCSU's Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, which allows adult learners to earn college credit for work experience. Under the agreement, these credits can be used to meet the technical specialty requirements of VCSU's Bachelor's degree. Individuals in apprenticeship programs can have years of experience working in technical fields, and this agreement offers them the first opportunity to apply their experience towards a Bachelor's degree.

The agreement outlines two options within VCSU's Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education. The Education option qualifies graduates to teach in post secondary levels such as career, vocational, and technical schools. A Management/Leadership option allows graduates to combine their technical education and experience with coursework in various fields of business administration such as accounting, project management¬¬¬, and marketing. "This is a unique and powerful option for people who would like to own, manage, or become leaders in technical enterprises," according to Dr. Shirley.

Another element of the program that makes it attractive for adult learners is that many of VCSU's courses required to complete the degree are available online. Work and family schedules and location frequently make it difficult for adult learners to add to their education, and online offerings can help adult learners overcome these challenges by allowing them to complete coursework from anywhere an Internet connection is available at times and places convenient to them.


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