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Cabarrus Early College of Technology takes off

CONCORD — This fall, the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College opened its third early college program at the Cabarrus Business and Technology Center (CBTC). The early college program, known as the Cabarrus Early College of Technology or Cabarrus Tech, is a partnership with the Cabarrus County school system.

“We are thrilled to welcome the first class of students to the new STEM early college. These students have already set themselves on a strong path forward toward earning both their high school and college education,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Cabarrus Tech is a science, technology, engineering and math early college with a focus on engineering and computer science. The school was created based on the high demand for an early college education

“We had a large number of applicants every year and we weren’t able to accept all of them. We were turning away about 120 students, so we knew we needed to expand,” said Vance Fishback, the first principal at the Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College who has taken on the role as principal of Cabarrus Tech. “We saw an opportunity to put the school on the Cabarrus Business and Technology Center campus and with the courses that are offered there, we decided to make it a STEM early college.”

While at Cabarrus Tech, students will have the ability to earn an associate in science, associate in arts or an associate in applied science. They can pursue a concentration in computer integration technology, construction management technology and electronic engineering technology.

Cabarrus Tech, the Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College on the Rowan-Cabarrus south campus and the Rowan County Early College on the Rowan-Cabarrus north campus, are a part of the Career and College Promise program which allows high school students to take community college classes for free.

“They can take any classes at the community college and that allows them to get a full associate’s degree while in high school,” Fishback said.

The early college programs, which provide tuition-free college courses to allow students to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously through an onsite standalone high school, are supported at the state level through the Career and College Promise program. The program also offers high school juniors and seniors in a regular high school setting the opportunity to get a “jump start” on a two-year or four-year degree while still in high school, also tuition free.

“We have a truly great opportunity here to help more of our current high school students achieve their goals of a college education. Getting started on a college education while still in high school is the best way to do that because it is tuition-free,” said Spalding.

Rowan-Cabarrus offers options for students to get a head start in careers like fire protection, cosmetology, criminal justice, machining, web technologies, welding and more. Many of the college transfer classes are weighted just like honors classes, making them an alternative to advanced placement courses.

“We want our community to be aware of these programs,” said Dr. Michael Quillen, vice president of academic programs. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that high school students and their parents know about these opportunities as early as possible so that they can stay engaged earlier in high school and on track with their education – regardless of what path they might choose.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/ccp or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The college is registering Career and College Promise students for classes for the spring term. High school students should also speak with their guidance counselor.

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