Davenport partnership with Holland Early College puts students on path to careers

Davenport University and Holland Public Schools have established a partnership enabling students to earn an associate degree while in high school. The innovative, forward-thinking program engages students in rigorous college coursework as early as ninth grade.

“Through Davenport’s dedicated courses of study, these students will have the ability to explore pathways leading to careers in business, health and technology,” Holland Campus Director Greg Foster said. “It also jumpstarts their progress toward a bachelor’s degree.”

Through the Holland Early College, students can to earn up to 60 college credits at no cost to the student.

“Early College provides access and opportunities to students who historically have been excluded from higher education, including first generation college goers and students of color,” said Andrea Mehall, Holland Early College director. “Davenport University is helping us remove barriers for these students in the Holland community.”

As high school freshmen, Holland Early College students can take a three-credit DU course in their second semester. They also can take a DU three-credit course during their sophomore year. Courses taken in their freshman and sophomore years are hosted at the high school.

Students continue taking college courses in their junior and senior years, primarily at DU’s Holland Campus. They finish the program at the end of a “13th year,” taking a full load of courses at Davenport and completing the year with both a high school diploma and associate degree in hand.

“By starting their college journey early — while they still have the comprehensive support provided by their high school and the Davenport University support team — these students gain motivation and stretch themselves intellectually,” Mehall said. “We’re scaffolding their college experiences to increase success and help them build confidence, leading to degree completion.”

Davenport offers program paths for Holland Early College students based on their career interests and post-high school aspirations. DU’s academic programs and courses are based on the needs of the marketplace with a focus on equipping students with the skills employers seek in high-demand careers.

“We offer tracks in business, health and technology, as well as a transfer track,” said Campus Director Greg Foster. “This intentionality in providing career-specific focuses in their courses will help teens in our community drive forward their future careers in growing industries in our community.”

The first 43 credits for students enrolled in Holland Early College represent a foundational core needed for an associate degree. As they progress, students have the option to choose a career-focused pathway in business, health or technology to help prepare them for majors in Finance, Accounting, Legal Studies, Medical Assisting, Pre-Nursing or Pre-Engineering.

“This partnership with Davenport University will prepare Holland students for a diverse and ever-changing world,” said Brian Davis, superintendent of Holland Public Schools.

Mehall said parents have expressed excitement about the partnership because of Davenport’s degrees that lead to high-demand careers, and its Employment Guarantee in Accounting, Nursing and Network Management and Security.

“Many of the parents in our community attended DU as well, and they look forward to their children having a world-class college experience like they did,” Mehall said.

For more information:
Andrea Mehall, director

Dana Loveland, counselor


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