Pierpont Early College Academy Receiving Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation Grant Award of $151,000


Date: October 16, 2017

Pierpont Early College Academy Receiving Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation Grant Award of $151,000

Fairmont, WV- Pierpont Community & Technical College has received a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in the amount of $151,000 to pilot a program that enables EDGE-eligible high school career and technical education students to enroll in community college courses during their senior year. The Pierpont Early College Academy is designed to be an innovative model for increasing the college going rate of West Virginians while also decreasing their student debt.

The pilot program is designed to allow high school students at Monongalia County Technical Education Center (MTEC) to enroll in Pierpont Community & Technical College while still attending their local high school. As these students successfully complete course equivalencies at their high school career and technical education center, they will also receive college course credit.

“This simple action will create a foundation which can have a dramatic impact upon the entire state.” said Brian Floyd, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Pierpont Community & Technical College “Increasing the college-going rate can help with business development and the attraction of new businesses. A more educated workforce means higher average wages, which in turn means a more substantial tax base. Increasing the college-going rate can be the catalyst for a greater educational culture, and perhaps families can begin to have hope of breaking out of generational education impoverishment and West Virginia can begin discussions of ‘second generation’ college students. These are the challenges and opportunities so dramatically possible with the simple act of increasing the college-going rate.” added Provost Floyd.

Students in North Central West Virginia, like much of the rest of the state, often find any additional expense to be a barrier to higher education. This is reflected in recent state data reporting the 2016 West Virginia high school graduation rate was 89.81 percent, while the 2016 college-going rate was only 55.57 percent. The average college-going in Pierpont’s 13 county service area of North Central West Virginia is 49.38 percent.

To address this issue, Pierpont’s Early College Academy will allow seniors to receive a full-day release at MTEC to attend college courses at a reduced rate. The program will also incorporate free college credit earned through participation in the West Virginia Department of Education’s EDGE initiative as part of this pilot program. West Virginia EDGE is a collaborative partnership between industry, postsecondary, and secondary educational levels to provide viable career options for individuals through rigorous curriculum, work-based learning experiences, and career development. Career and technical education students can leave high school with a college transcript, and this EDGE credit is earned at no cost to the student.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 11 of the 15 occupations with the fastest growth between 2014 and 2024 will require education beyond secondary school. Six of the 15 jobs anticipated to experience the greatest growth will demand a credential beyond a high school diploma. Research suggests that programs like Pierpont’s Early College Academy will provide a more comprehensive enrollment strategy specifically targeted at traditionally


Practical… Possible… Pierpont

Pierpont Community & Technical College is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Institutionunderserved students, and are an effective approach to increasing postsecondary participation and attainment rates through innovative partnerships delivering a highly-skilled technical workforce.



Bo Sellers

Director of Marketing and Public Relations

1201 Locust Avenue

Fairmont, West Virginia 26554



Pierpont offers two-year Associate Degree programs; one-year Certificate Programs; and Short-term Training Programs that prepare West Virginians for high-demand careers close to home.

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