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Students can get a sheepskin and college credits concurrently and get back on track

PMG PHOTO:TERESA CARSON - Mt. Hood Community College President Lisa Skari said students in the new Gateway to College program will get a high-level of support to get their high school diploma while earning college credit.   East Multnomah County students who have dropped out of high school have a new program that offers them an opportunity to get their high school diploma and also college credits at Mt. Hood Community College.

The national program, called Achieving the Dream Gateway to College, is also offered at Portland Community College, which developed the first Gateway to College program in 2000. 

Students in the Gresham-Barlow, Centennial and Reynolds school districts can take advantage of the program and attend MHCC.

Students enrolled in the program can explore careers in disciplines offered at the college, including applied technology and health professions.

The dual enrollment program is free to the student until they receive their high school diploma. School district funds pay for the high school portion of the student's education at MHCC.

"The Gateway to College program will come with a high-level of support for each student, including an adviser who will work one-on-one with the student for the duration of the program, to ensure their success and completion," Lisa Skari, president of MHCC, said in an announcement.

The initial class of Gateway to College students will start Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the beginning of the college's fall quarter. Anywhere from 50 to 100 students are expected to take advantage of the new program every year.

The Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation donated the funds to make the Gateway to College Program possible for East County students. Umpqua has committed $1 million to four Portland Metro-based nonprofits to expand economic education and empowerment opportunities for low- to moderate-income people.

Emily Froimson, Achieving the Dream's executive vice president, said in the announcement, "ATD's Gateway to College and PDX Bridge programs at Mt. Hood and Portland community colleges create critical opportunities for vulnerable young people to finish high school on a pathway to postsecondary success."

Achieving the Dream partners with colleges and school districts to establish the dual-enrollment programs, reconnecting out-of-school or significantly off-track youth to education.

The MHCC program brings the number of Gateway to College programs to 36 nationally.


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