December 19, 2011

Owens Community College Launches Gateway to College Program to Help High School Dropouts Earn Diplomas and College Credit

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Owens Community College has received a $325,000 start-up grant from Gateway to College National Network to implement Gateway to College, a nationally recognized dropout recovery program.

Gateway to College is designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or are significantly behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The program enables them to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate degree or certificate.

“Owens Community College is extremely honored to be chosen by Gateway to College National Network as the first academic institution in Ohio to offer the Gateway to College program,” said John Satkowski, Interim President of Owens Community College. “The Gateway to College national initiative provides a second chance for students to succeed academically and prepare for a brighter future. An education opens doors to many opportunities and Owens Community College is pleased to collaborate with Toledo Public Schools and Gateway to College National Network and help students realize their fullest academic and career potential.”

Up to 150 students from Toledo Public Schools will be served through the program over the next three years. Students must meet specific criteria for entrance into the program and will be dually enrolled at their K-12 district and Owens Community College until they complete their high school diploma. Tuition and books are free for students enrolled in Gateway to College.
Dr. Jerome Pecko, Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, is excited to learn that the Toledo Public Schools/Owens Community College partnership was chosen as the first in Ohio to implement the Gateway to College dropout recovery program.

“We’re most grateful to Gateway to College National Network for supporting this initiative. Assisting young adults who have not completed their high school education has become one of Toledo Public Schools’ primary goals. The Gateway program’s unique incentives…a fully paid dual credit program with a comprehensive system of support…virtually eliminates traditionally insurmountable barriers. This program will not only benefit the youth who participate, but also the community in which they reside. After all, education is a key component of and directly related to the vitality of every community.”

Students are placed into small learning communities during their first (Foundation) term, and together they take classes in reading, writing, math, and college skills. After completing the Foundation term, students transition to the comprehensive campus, taking classes with the general student population. Throughout their enrollment in the program, students receive one-on-one advising and support from resource specialists who act as coaches, mentors, and advisors. The wrap-around support of the resource specialist keeps students on the right track for success.

Students graduate from Gateway to College once they have completed their high school diploma requirements. Nationally, Gateway to College students accrue an average of 35 college credits by the time they graduate from the program, putting them well on their way to earning a college credential.
Owens Community College is one of 37 community and technical colleges across the country currently offering the Gateway to College program.

For more information on Gateway to College, visit www.gatewaytocollege.org.

Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.