A combination of resources are available in Albany Tech’s eight-county service areas that could allow high school students to earn an associate degree, a workforce diploma, or two technical certificates of credit. Georgia’s dual enrollment program provides the first 30 credits, and the Rebuild SW Georgia Initiative can provide an additional 30 credits for children who are economically disadvantaged. The children from both affluent and economically disadvantaged families will have an opportunity to earn an associate degree from Albany Technical College while they are still in high school.
Albany Tech offers 100 embedded and 20 standalone technical certificates of credit, 50 occupational diplomas, and 37 associate degrees to high school students. We have a 95 percent placement rate for those who choose to go directly to work. We have active articulation agreements with 16 baccalaureate pathways. Several of our graduates have managed to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years. Further, attending a two-year college while in high school could save their families up to $40,000 in out-of-pocket expenses or student loan debt. Recent high school / Albany Tech graduates have successfully matriculated at Albany State, Georgia Southwestern, Georgia Southern, Florida A&M, Tuskegee, Mercer, South Carolina State, and Georgia Universities.
When I was a graduate student at South Carolina State, Dr. Sam Stroman shared the results of his graduate thesis. Dr. Stroman found that the children of African American parents who both graduated from college are more likely to overachieve in college. He found that if both parents graduated from college there was a 90 percent chance that their children would attend college and an over 70 percent chance that they would graduate. Thus, I believe the best method to create generational wealth for today’s high school students is to earn a degree or work certification so that they will encourage their children to do the same. An associate degree from Albany Technical College is an excellent start.
There is value in obtaining a few credits, and there is value in obtaining a technical certificate. However, there is much more worth in earning an associate degree or completing a workforce diploma. There are few people who could successfully argue that more preparation is less beneficial. Additional preparation is more desirable because it creates self-confidence as well as an expectation of future success. That confidence will be passed along to their children who then will be expected to succeed.
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays said it best when he said, “The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal, the tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream...It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin." I’m certain that aiming towards and earning a college degree while in high school will create a generational blessing.