DENISON, TEX. (April 5,2022) -- Grayson College, a public community college serving a diverse population of working adults and part-time students in Grayson County, Texas, today announced an ambitious new initiative to enhance its online offerings and significantly increase the number of online courses and certificates available in Career Technical Education (CTE) fields. Leveraging grant funding from a variety of sources, the college will develop up to 60 online CTE courses by the end of 2022 that will help students prepare for careers in fast-growing industries such as manufacturing, information technology, automotive repair and healthcare.
“An essential component of our mission is to meet the diverse learning and workforce needs of the rural learners in the region that we serve. Too often, time and distance can create barriers to educational access for the working and part-time students in rural and remote communities,” said Dr. Jeremy McMillen, President of Grayson College. “This partnership will enable us to dramatically expand our CTE offerings to make workforce relevant courses that will be much more flexible, accessible and convenient to students and members of our local community. In addition to these new online courses, Grayson college will continue to offer over 40 CTE programs with in-person components.
To help meet the complex demands of the Lone Star State’s fast-growing state economy and workforce, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced the 60x30 TX Plan in 2015 with the goal of increasing the percentage of working adults with postsecondary degrees or credentials to 60% by 2030. Rural students face additional barriers to degree and credential completion: rural counties account for 97% of U.S. land, but they are home to just 14% of U.S.colleges and universities. Nationally, more than 21 million adults living in rural counties do not have a college degree.
The expansion of GraysonCollege’s online CTE offerings will enable students in rural and remote fringe areas of North Texas to access industry-recognized coursework, licensure programs, and credentials through the convenience of flexible online offerings. The new collaboration is designed to help meet the hiring and training needs of employers in North Texas while helping area residents prepare for new and well-paying careers. Statewide, more than 188,0000 Texas community college students—47% of whom are women—are enrolled in CTE programs.
To build the online courses program, Grayson College selected independent instructional design firm iDesign, which has worked with more than 100 institutions to design, build and support award-winning online courses. A team of Grayson College faculty experts and instructional designers from iDesign are working to enhance existing online CTE courses as well as new courses being built in an online format for the first time. Once completed, each course will use cutting-edge teaching methods and professional production coupled with rich and interactive video content.
Originally founded in 1965 and today serving more than 4,000 students each year, Grayson College has gained increased national recognition for its focus on expanding access to higher education in rural communities. In 2021, the college was one of three Texas community colleges selected by the Greater Texas Foundation and the Rural College Promise Program to participate in a $3.1 million grant focused on strengthening college access and workforce outcomes in rural Texas.
“Community colleges are increasingly deploying online learning, not just for lecture-based instruction, but increasingly for the sorts of career education and training needed to help workers up- and reskill for in-demand industries,” said Paxton Riter, co-founder and CEO of iDesign. “This is about translating high-quality CTE coursework into a rich and rigorous online curriculum that will help rural learners develop the technical skills and credentials to access better-paying jobs in the communities they call home.”
About Grayson College: Grayson College serves over 4,000 students each term through six pathways and 60+ degrees and certificate programs in university transfer and technical programs. The College's mission is student success. The two campuses in Denison and Van Alstyne have undergone a multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion. grayson.edu
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