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Creating Technical Scholars

Creating Technical Scholars (CTS): A Model for Structured Pathways

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant of $365,508 to Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) for support of the project  Creating Technical Scholars (CTS): A Model for Structured Pathways  (Award ID# 1700550).

Beginning August 1, 2017, the project seeks to create a seamless transition pathway from secondary education to employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related fields and high-tech positions. The project is under the direction of John Floyd, Principal Investigator, and Debbie Daniels, Co-Principal Investigator.

ESCC’s CTS project brings together local high-tech employers, school districts, and four-year institutions to create flexible career pathways beginning in high school and potentially culminating in a Bachelor of Applied Science degree, with an emphasis on recruiting and retaining under-represented populations.

Students enrolling in trade programs will have tracks available in a Technical Studies Associate of Applied Science degree to efficiently utilize classes already taken. This project fills a gap in short-term training programs that may prepare individuals for immediate employment, but do not serve students who  may wish to earn more advanced degrees required for promotion to higher paying jobs within their chosen trade.

Since the demographics and employer needs of the Eastern Shore and ESCC align closely with those of other rural community colleges, and since the service area conditions of high poverty and unemployment and low levels of educational attainment are common, the pathways created may serve as a model to impact a broader audience.

The project has four Objectives:

  • Design Dual Enrollment Technical Tracks in career and technical education programs – New tracks will allow students to earn simultaneous high school and college credit and complete a career studies certificate in technical and occupational programs (Industrial Technology, Computer Technology, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), and Electronics) during their junior and senior years of high school.
  • Create a Technical Studies A.A.S with tracks in Industrial Technology, HVAC, Welding, and Electricity – This program will target dual enrollment technical track and certificate completers and create a pathway to upper division studies or a competitive resume advantage for those seeking employment.
  • Establish articulation agreements with regional four-year institutions in technical studies fields – Agreements will clearly outline how courses will transfer to multiple 4-year institutions, minimizing credit loss.
  • Devise career tracks for students to begin careers in technical studies fields after receiving a post-secondary credential – Local business/industry partners will work with ESCC to provide work-based learning experiences in high-demand technical fields, including internships, job-shadowing, discipline-related conferences, and skills competitions.

For more information about Creating Technical Scholars contact the team at

If you are interested in becoming a Technical Studies student, please click here to complete a short survey.

See the June 2021 Data Report from our External Evaluator Magnolia Consulting.

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