This is a major school-to-work initiative that involves restructuring traditional curricula and introducing new pedagogical approaches at the high school and community college levels. Viewed as one of the most innovative and effective educational reform efforts in recent American history, Tech-Prep connects learning to careers pathways and provides students with the adaptive skills they need to compete successfully in the technologically advanced workplace of tomorrow. Currently, there are nearly 1,000 Tech-Prep consortiums operating nationwide.
Why we need Tech-Prep?
Today, 85 percent of jobs require some postsecondary education or training, and two-thirds require somewhere between a high school diploma and a four-year degree (see table below).
Classification Job Skills Levels*
*Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004
The type of articulation used in Tech-Prep programs at El Paso Community College deals with technical competencies mastered in a secondary career and technology course and then transferred and applied to the same competencies required in an entry level college course. The articulation of course work has become a major aspect of Tech-Prep programs at the College.
Tech-Prep is a way to start a college technical major in high school. In a Tech-Prep program, students begin a course of study in high school and continue in a community or technical college. The result is a certificate or associate of applied science degree in a career field. Tech-Prep programs combine the academic courses needed for success in college and technical courses that begin to prepare students for a career.
Students in Tech-Prep programs can earn college credit through:
- Local articulation
- Dual credit (concurrent enrollment)
- College Board Advanced Placement (AP)
Program and Course Articulation
A key component of Tech-Prep is program articulation. Articulation is a planned process linking El Paso Community College and high school Career and Technology Education (CATE) courses. This link assists students in making a smooth transition from one level of education to another without experiencing delays or duplication in learning.
Within articulated Tech-Prep programs are articulated courses. High school courses that contain the same course content as an equivalent college course, and for which a post-secondary institution has agreed to award college credit if the student meets requirements outlined in the course articulation analysis.
Benefits derived from successful articulation between secondary career and technology programs and postsecondary technical programs may include:
- Saving money for the student
- Saving time for the student
- Reducing duplication of instruction
- Improving programs through communication
- Facilitating communications between the schools, the instructors, the administrators, and business and industry
- Enhancing public relations
- Increasing the usage of selected facilities
- Increasing enrollments in technical training courses at the secondary and postsecondary levels
- Increasing enrollments in upper-level classes at the postsecondary level
- Assisting with recruitment at both levels
- Improving job placement potential
- Promoting a more unified education system