The Commerce Journal

April 3, 2013

University working with Commerce ISD to meet the demand of the workforce

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Almost 60 percent of today’s workforce requires a college education to be considered for employment.

With those numbers rising at a rapid rate, public schools are feeling the pressure to urge students to seriously consider continuing their education.

Commerce Independent School District is one of those making the push.

When Blake Cooper, superintendent of Commerce ISD, took the position in 2008, he said the school board wanted to help prepare the students for college and life beyond the high school bells.

“We have a university here that we could take advantage of,” he said.

Working with Dr. Ricky Dobbs, dean of the university college at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Wendy Gruver, director of college readiness at A&M-Commerce, students from Commerce High School can have up to 32 college credit hours, or one full year of college, upon graduation in the 2014 year.

The high school recently added four dual credit classes, U.S. History, College Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Sociology, at a discounted rate of $150 per class, plus the cost of textbooks. The school will also be adding English to the dual credit program next year.

Julia Robinson, director of curriculum for CISD, said A&M-Commerce has been a great asset for the school.

“It’s really hard to say in a short amount of time, how important this is for students,” she said. “Having a professor on campus is a great benefit. I cannot say enough about them.”

Some of the programs the university has developed with the school are hosting an A&M-Commerce student panel for dual credit students, a college lingo seminar and college visit, to help students make the adjustment from high school to higher education; and hosting a parent fair, with members from A&M-Commerce admissions, financial aid and Honors College representatives on hand to answer questions.

According to Cooper, he applauds the university faculty who not only come over and help teach the students, but who have made the choice to move to Commerce and bring their children up through the school system.

“I appreciate you living in Commerce,” he said.