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Nashoba Valley Career Technical Education Students Getting a Leg Up with Middlesex Community College Partnership

A new partnership between Nashoba Valley Technical High School and Middlesex Community College (MCC) will allow students in the high school’s Design and Visual Communications Program to graduate with a full Associate's Degree from MCC. Development of this new Early College learning pathway was spearheaded by members of the Nashoba Valley Federation of Teachers, the union representing the educators and school support staff at the high school.

Students who complete the learning pathway, including college level academic coursework and technical courses, can then immediately enter the workforce with a good-paying job in advertising, illustration, web design, animation, and other graphic related fields. Students can also transition into the third year of a Bachelor’s Degree program.

“This pathway will allow our high school students to gain the equivalent college education that will leapfrog them to the next steps on their path forward,” says Derik Rochon, a Design and Visual Communications Instructor at Nashoba Valley Technical High School, and President of the Nashoba Valley Federation of Teachers. “This advantage can mean more opportunities to enter the workforce, or remove two years off the time it takes to complete a Bachelor’s degree program.”

“This partnership heralds a valuable opportunity for students to expedite their education and career trajectories, gaining practical experience and forging connections within the graphic design field at an earlier stage than the traditional four-year college route would allow,” says Russell Byron, a Senior Graphic Designer at Conolly Printing and 2014 graduate of the Design & Visual Communications program at Nashoba Valley Technical High School. “Reflecting on my own educational path, I can only imagine how beneficial it would have been to join this program by starting my college degree ahead of schedule, accelerating my entry into the graphic design industry while simultaneously saving on educational costs for my higher education. In our dynamic field, every opportunity to enhance one's skills, broaden educational horizons, and expand professional networks is a stepping stone towards success.”

Rochon hopes that this program will serve as a model for other vocational technical schools to build greater partnerships with local community colleges and employers.

“Education needs to evolve in this market and we need to be the innovators of that change. Being proactive and not reactive to this evolution is important,” he says. “The more proactive we are, the more we can reshape the workplace for the betterment of the students, teachers, and education as a whole.”

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