KINGSFORD — Students from schools within the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District will soon have an opportunity to get ahead in their college studies.

The ISD’s Career and Technical Education Center – in collaboration with Bay College West – is starting up an Early College program for technical students to earn certificates and degrees during their stay in high school.

“What the early college will allow for students in our welding program is to complete a welding certificate at the same time as they’re finishing their high school degree by staying in school one extra year,” said Michael Mulligan, Career and Technical Education Director and Principal at the Dickinson-Iron ISD.

The Tech Center’s Computer Networking program will also be a part of the Early College.

Mulligan added, “Those students will earn an Associate Degree by taking classes while they’re in high school here at the Tech Center and then finishing up at Bay College at the west campus.”

In addition to saving time, students can save money doing the program, as the State of Michigan provides additional funds to pay for college tuition costs.

“In order to do that, they need to be part of an early college program. They have to enter that program as a junior. So they have three years complete the program – so the junior year, senior year, and a grade thirteen,” said Mulligan.

“Students that would be first time or not eligible or have never thought about going to college before are going to be able to take advantage of the program and this initiative to further their education,” said Kevin Carlson, Vice President of Finance and Bay College West Campus.

The Early College is set to begin in the fall. There is a parent meeting scheduled on June 6th to gauge additional interest in the program.