FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Pierpont Community and Technical College has teamed up with West Virginia Virtual Academy to help increase the secondary education enrollment rates within the state.

Between 2021 and 2022, West Virginia’s public secondary education enrollment rates decreased by 1.4% overall. Pierpont and WVVA are tackling these statistics head-on by creating a program in which high school students can enroll to obtain an associate degree along with their high school diploma.

“We’re really reaching out and that’s what this college is all about, helping students at that very beginning step of the thought about college until they complete that degree,” said Kathleen L. Nelson, current in-term President of Pierpont.

Nelson alongside fellow administrators of both Pierpont and WVVA, hosted a signing for the memorandum of understanding officiating the program within both schools.

The program was described by Nelson as consisting of basic, introduction-level college courses for participating freshman high school students, which would grow to be corresponding upper-level classes as the student progresses throughout their term.

“It starts them thinking of possibilities they haven’t normally thought about in high school. Usually, you think, well about the time you’re a junior or senior, you’re thinking ‘what do I do after high school?’. In this way they’ve already been through college, they’ve already received a degree, and they can take that degree back to us here at Pierpont and enter another program, maybe a technical program that they’re interested in. Or they could take that degree and go on to a university because they will have completed a college degree already. So, the opportunities are limitless,” said Nelson.

Pierpont signed eleven other memorandums of understanding with local high schools of Pierpont Community and Technical College locations. To find out more about the program, you can reach out to Pierpont directly.