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Lanier Technical College’s Dual Enrollment program provides affordable way to give students head start on college, career
Informational night planned for Dec. 1 at Forsyth Conference Center
lanier tech

Jackson Clayton plans to jumpstart his career before his 21st birthday, finishing half of the course credits needed for his two-year degree before graduating from high school.

Most importantly, he said he’ll be able to do it without any student loan debt.

Clayton said this is all thanks to the Dual Enrollment program at Lanier Technical College, which gives high school students the opportunity to take college courses for free while still in high school.

“I’m very lucky to have gotten into the Dual Enrollment program,” Clayton said.

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Dual Enrollment
Lanier Technical College plans to host an informational night on its Dual Enrollment program from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 1, at the Forsyth County Conference Center.

Veronica Bowermaster, Lanier Tech’s Dual Enrollment coordinator, said students can earn up to 30 college credits in general education classes through the program, 28 courses of which are guaranteed to transfer to an in-state university.

This means students can get a head-start on college, no matter what route they choose to take.

For Clayton, he took part in the program knowing he did not want to attend a four-year college after high school. Instead, he continued taking classes at Lanier Tech following graduation to finish the workforce development pathway in welding he started working toward in high school.

Bowermaster said Lanier Tech offers more than 40 workforce development pathways, including allied health, cosmetology and horticulture.

“[A four-year school] is not the only option,” Clayton said. “There are different paths to go on that are not as conventional, but they can be very viable.”

Clayton said trade skills like welding are important for employers, and he’s confident he can begin his career early and earn a good salary compared to others his age.

The COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years has also highlighted for him just how important these essential skills are to society. He said there will always be positions available in trade skills such as welding, plumbing, cosmetology and more.

“You get certified in a useful trade that you can go anywhere with,” Clayton said. “They’ll always need people to do it. You’ll never go hungry.”

While Clayton has his career path already planned out, Rebecca Maldonado-Zuniga is still unsure of her future. But no matter what college she ends up going to, she said she is grateful that the Dual Enrollment program at Lanier Tech has given her a head start.

The senior at Denmark High School started the program last year, taking general education courses while she continues to think about the future. She said she couldn’t believe when she heard about the program that the cost of students’ first 30 credit hours was covered through the Georgia Student Finance Commission, including textbooks.

“Not a lot of people know about this program, which is crazy because it’s really helpful,” Maldonado-Zuniga said.

Not only is she saving money through the program, but Maldonado-Zuniga said she also has much more free time to take part in extracurriculars and get involved in the community, which she hopes will help give her some ideas for potential careers.

She joined the Explorers program this year with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Through this program, she can receive training and learn more about the duties, responsibilities and techniques of deputies.

Going forward, Maldonado-Zuniga is excited to continue with the Dual Enrollment program for another semester before finally graduating in May.

Those interested in the Dual Enrollment program can find out more during an informational night from 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the Forsyth Conference Center.

Students and parents can learn more about the admissions process and funding eligibility requirements. Instructors will also be in attendance to provide course information and answer program-specific questions.

The Dual Enrollment program is open to any high school student enrolled in and physically attending a participating public or private high school in Georgia or participating home study program.

“While the evening is geared towards those interested in our Dual Enrollment program, we encourage anyone interested in learning about our dynamic curriculum and degree options to attend,” Bowermaster said. “Lanier Tech has a 100% job placement rate for its graduates, which is why we say great careers start here.”

The Forsyth Conference Center is at 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Cumming, GA.