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Career-oriented education is expanding in the Wilkes County schools, largely through the statewide Career and College Promise (CCP) program.

CCP is a partnership between public schools and community colleges through which high school juniors and seniors take college courses and simultaneously earn college credits toward a certificate, diploma or associate (two-year) degree and high school elective credit.

The program has two groups of “pathways.”

One is the transfer program toward earning a four-year college or university degree and the other focuses on technical skills needed for getting available, good-paying jobs. Both offer substantial savings in tuition and educational supply costs for dual-enrolled (high school and community college) students.

With increased emphasis on matching public school and community college education with needs of employers, technical job skill pathways have accounted for most of the growth of CCP in the Wilkes schools.

Adrian Tate, director of the Boone-based High Country Workforce Development Board, said CCP helps address critical needs.

“There is a huge disconnect among youths with their understanding of today’s jobs,” said Tate. “Programs like Career and College Promise are a great thing. They will help many kids go into careers that are needed and that pay well.”