Cleveland State Offers Fast Track Cohort Program

Friday, November 1, 2013
When John Carroll decided to attend Cleveland State Community College this past Spring, it was to earn his certificate in Electrical Maintenance, but after doing so, he decided not to stop there. Carroll is now pursuing his Associate of Applied Science and thinks he may even go on to complete his bachelor’s degree after CSCC. 

Mr. Carroll enrolled in Advance, Cleveland State’s accelerated program, which offers students a quick and convenient way to obtain a college degree. The benefits of the Advance program include attending class one or two days per week, completing the degree or certificate in a much shorter period of time, and working with the same group of fellow students throughout the program. 

“I had taken some classes in Illinois, but never had the chance to finish my education,” he said. “The Electrical Maintenance program looked very similar to what I had been taking and I thought it would be a good match for me, so I decided to give it a shot. What appealed to me was that it was an accelerated program, and I liked that a lot. I also think the whole ‘cohort’ thing is beneficial because you get to know each other and can really help each other out.” 

Sherra Witt, dean of Business and Technology, said, “Cele Curtis (Cohort Specialist for the Perkins Grant) actually checked with both Chambers as well as local industries to see what the need was in our area and this cohort (Electrical Maintenance) fit the need. Whether it be someone looking for employment or advancement with their current employment, we want to be able to fit the needs of our community.” 

Ms. Witt continued, “Generally speaking, these are working adults who need some education at a non-traditional time. Some classes are offered at night. Some are offered on Saturdays." 

"These different scheduling options allow the students to not over extend themselves. They can still take care of their families and any other obligations they may have without a struggle.”  

Ms. Curtis said, “There are many benefits to a cohort program. These students know at the beginning what their classes are going to be and when they are going to be. They are guaranteed these cohort classes are not going to be cancelled. I also think the fact that the students get to know one another and can offer one another support and encouragement throughout their course of study is a real benefit.” 

“Cele Curtis has been invaluable,” said Mr. Carroll. “She is such an asset to this school. Anytime I have ever had any kind of question or concern, she has gone out of her way to help me and she does a fantastic job for the college—I have really enjoyed my time here. My instructors and everyone has been very helpful. I would tell anyone to find an area that you are interested in and devote your time to it and don’t give up. Those are the two things that I keep telling myself." 

Although the Advance Electrical Maintenance certificate is new, Cleveland State has had cohorts for the business program, both in customer service through local industry, as well as the Business Advance program for working adults. There are plans for additional cohorts in the future.” 

Ms. Curtis said, “In this world where education is changing so rapidly, we have to look at different ways to connect with students/working adults who want to further their education but who also have other responsibilities. I feel that Cleveland State has been very responsive to that.” 

Allan Gentry, Technology Department chairman, said, “Many people, like John, have the knowledge, but the certificate gives them the credibility to attest to their knowledge and skills. This is what we can provide for them.” 

An Electrical Maintenance Certificate will prepare students to obtain one of the following jobs: Electrical Maintenance Technician, Electrician Installer and Repairer, Maintenance Electrician, Industrial Maintenance Electrician or Industrial Electrician. 

For more information on the Electrical Maintenance Certificate or any other cohort options that CSCC has to offer, call 423 478-6225.


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