Officials work toward creating a career academy

CONCORD – Recently, the New Hampshire Department of Education and the Community College System of New Hampshire announced plans to move forward on creating the New Hampshire Career Academy.

The academy will be a public charter school, embedded into the campuses of and operated by the Community College System of New Hampshire, a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Education reads.

Only New Hampshire high school seniors will be eligible to attend. According to the DOE, seniors who graduate will receive a high school diploma, an industry-recognized credential, an associate degree in a related field and, when successfully through the program, a job interview with a New Hampshire company.

For this to move forward, DOE officials said the school must be aligned with a Community College System of New Hampshire Career Academy, which will provide an employment path for eligible students.

An “implementation team” consisting of representatives from the DOE and Community College System of New Hampshire, various teachers, administrators and business leaders will be working together to make this possible.

The DOE’s final overview of the New Hampshire Career Academy states that students will be able to attend for a cheaper cost and for two years.

While a traditional public school is funded by both the state and through local property taxes, public charter schools are funded solely through the state.

“Presently, the cost of a high school education is approximately $16,000 per year. At a cost of $7,300 per year, New Hampshire Career Academy students could attend for two-years at a slightly lower cost. New Hampshire Career Academy will offer students a ‘super-senior’ year. This would afford them two years at the Community College System of New Hampshire and the opportunity to complete an associate degree,” the overview reads.

The summary also states the New Hampshire Career Academy “has the possibility of achieving what so far has eluded so many – a model that does not cost the education system any additional funds but makes free college available to New Hampshire students.”

Participating high school students will still be allowed to participate in activities at their previous high school, if interested. They also have the ability to transfer back to their school if it is not the right fit.

The idea for the New Hampshire Career Academy is relatively new, as it was first announced by Gov. Chris Sununu during his 2019 Inaugural Address last week.

No further details have been released regarding when a full plan for the New Hampshire Career Academy will be set.

Grace Pecci may be contacted at 594 -1243 or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.