West Virginia college enrollment falls; non-traditional students - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia college enrollment falls; non-traditional students push for trade schools

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Garnet Career Center students push for technical school education. Garnet Career Center students push for technical school education.

According to the West Virginia Report Card, a source for statistics in higher education, college enrollment numbers in West Virginia have dropped by nearly 6 percent in the last 5 years. While data shows that fewer West Virginia students are going to college, that doesn't mean that all forms of higher education are seeing a drop in interested students. 

"Here I am at 34 years of age coming back to school. I've done the college thing, I've been out working, and here I am back living my dream." says Leslie Scott, a student at Garnet Career Center in downtown Charleston, West Virginia. 

From the outside, the Garnet Career Center appears to be an average school, however its curriculum differs from that of a regular university. Garnet offers programs like automotive technology, business education, and licensed practical nursing (LPN) to its students. School administrators pride themselves on offering a hands on education to prepare students for everyday life in the workforce. 

"I will leave Garnet and I will be 100 percent sure that I will exude confidence." says Garnet LPN student Nelson McClure. 

Many students decide to enroll at Garnet because classes can only be paid for by academic grants or out of pocket, which eliminates the stress of student loans. Other students, like Rachael Adkins, made the choice to go to Garnet because of the fast track programs. 

"In a year I am going to be certified. I'm going to have a job that not just any person off the street can just walk off and get." says Rachael. 

While Garnet students say they appreciate education in all forms, they want to erase the social stigma attached to students who chose to go to trade schools. They wants other prospective students to know that Garnet can lead them to a career just like a college. 

"I think they say 86 percent job placement that Garnet has. Especially here in the Charleston area" says Garnet business student David Jordan. 
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