From left, Steve Showalter, principal of Water Canyon High School; Kevin Simmons, DSU’s director of concurrent enrollment; and Chris Gifford, director of DSU’s extension education centers, celebrate the $100,000 Perkins Grant Dixie State University received to establish an education center at Water Canyon High School in Hildale. Photo courtesy of Nancy Hauck, Dixie State University.
A new Dixie State University Center will be available this fall to concurrent enrollment students and Hildale community members to establish more career pathways in rural communities.
The center will be located at Water Canyon High School and is made possible by a $100,000 Perkins Grant that was awarded to DSU in January.
Perkins Grants are given through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides funds to secondary and postsecondary schools with career and technical programs.
Nancy Hauck, associate provost of community and global engagement, said seven main certifications will be offered at the center, including general education completion, certified nursing assistant, design, computing fundamentals, information technology, entrepreneurship, and digital photography and imaging.
Hauck wrote the grant proposal in November and said a career and technical education survey was sent out to Water Canyon High School students to gauge which areas of study had the most interest.
“There’s a partnership with Washington County schools, so we’ve gotten feedback from there,” Hauck said. “We’ve also gotten information from the Department of Workforce Services on what career needs we have in our region so we can make informed decisions on which certificates to offer.”
Hauck said the certificates that will be offered at the DSU Center are also available on campus, and working toward a certification on top of a bachelor’s or associate’s is particularly advantageous when entering the workforce.
From these centers, in addition to hands-on instruction, students can use Zoom for on-campus courses regardless of how many or how few students in the community may be interested in each class. Living in a rural community can mean less access to on-campus courses, so the center will function to bridge that gap.
Steve Showalter, principal of Water Canyon High School, said rural communities like Hildale often don’t have enough certified instructors to teach concurrent enrollment courses, so he’s looking forward to partnering with DSU to get more students on track for higher education.
“I’m very excited for our students to have more varied opportunities and to get them on career paths earlier,” Showalter said. “Ideally, the community will be involved as well, and members of the Hildale and Colorado City communities will be able to take DSU courses.”
Collaborating with partnered high schools is one of the crucial ways DSU is expanding its reach as a university.
Kevin Simmons, director of concurrent enrollment, said: “The further we can reach out and get people accepted into DSU, the more likely it is that they’ll come here to move to the next level. We feel very good about this, and we’re not done.”
Along with the Hildale location, a CNA lab was established in Panguitch this semester, and a DSU Center opened in Kanab High School last year.
“The list will hopefully go on,” Simmons said. “Concurrent enrollment is the anchor of these centers, but our hope is to service adult learners after hours as well. That’s what it’s all about.”