Double degrees: Students graduate from high school and college — in same month
UC Clermont, Grant Career Center partnership jumpstarts futures
When Tate Liming walked across the stage to accept his diploma at Felicity-Franklin High School in May, he was a step ahead of his fellow graduates — with a college degree already in hand.
Liming is one of eight students who will graduate this year from high school and with an associate degree from UC Clermont’s manufacturing engineering technology program. All participated in UC’s College Credit Plus, Ohio’s dual enrollment program that provides students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn college and high school credits simultaneously by taking courses from Ohio colleges or universities. The college’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology program, located at Grant Career Center in Bethel, Ohio, prepares students for a variety of positions within the manufacturing sector.
“I heard about the program, and I was immediately interested because my family is in manufacturing,” said Liming, whose grandfather started L&L Plastics in Felicity, Ohio. “I went to Grant and took a tour, met instructors and got really excited. When they told me I could finish a degree by the end of high school, I knew I had to do it.”
Hailey Sampson, who recently graduated from Bethel-Tate High School near Grant, said she was drawn to the manufacturing program because of a lifelong interest in engineering. “Growing up, I was always outside building things,” said Sampson, who will finish her associate degree this fall. She now plans to continue her education in another field and believes the introduction to college-level work has been invaluable.
When they told me I could finish a degree by the end of high school, I knew I had to do it.
Tate Liming UC Clermont '21, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
“Taking college classes in high school made me more prepared for my next step,” said Sampson. “The work ethic needed is different. I’ve learned how to meet deadlines and manage my time.”
Students in the UC Clermont program gain specialized education in manufacturing processes, including production management, computer-aided design (CAD) and robotics. The associate degree’s hands-on nature prepares graduates to be hired immediately as machinists, CNC programmers, designers, detailers and inspectors for engineering firms.
Liming enjoyed learning to use the state-of-the-art equipment in the Grant labs.
“I loved working on the computer and 3-D modeling — creating something on a screen, then taking it to a machine and seeing it come to life,” he said. “Seeing your own work turned into something real is a different feeling.”
For this spring’s sophomore class project, 20 students worked together to create a roboticized coaster dispenser. The students were divided into teams each charged with a different task, such as programming the robot and electrical panel, engineering the conveyor or creating LED lights.
“Robots are huge in the industry right now because they are reliable and make manufacturing easier,” Liming said. “Learning to program them as a student is a valuable skill.”
At the end of the semester, students presented their project to more than a dozen manufacturing industry representatives — potential employers. Chris Goodman, UC Clermont’s manufacturing engineering program coordinator, said the project is just one example of how students benefit from a combination of a top-notch facility, strong curriculum and working relationships with local industry leaders. Top employers for UC Clermont graduates include Milacron and L3Harris.
“Manufacturing is a broad field and offers tremendous opportunity,” Goodman said. “Students are graduating and getting hired quickly. There is a large demand for skilled workers.”
Goodman said that for high school students interested in manufacturing or real-world learning, enrolling in the program through College Credit Plus offers a quick route to gainful employment — or further education. The manufacturing program also leads to UC Clermont’s bachelor’s degree in applied administration, building on core manufacturing engineering experience to prepare students for leadership positions as foremen, supervisors, and for roles in project management and quality assurance within the field.
That’s the plan for Liming, who will begin the bachelor’s degree program this fall and is completing his certificate in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) this summer. Ultimately, he hopes to use his education to further the family business.
“The business has been passed down through generations,” Liming said. “The education and experience I’m getting at UC Clermont will help prepare me to lead it into the future.”
Feature image at top: UC Clermont and Bethel-Tate High School graduate Hailey Sampson works with a computer numerical control (CNC) machine in the college’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology lab, located at Grant Career Center in Bethel, Ohio. Sampson earned her associate degree and high school diploma simultaneously, thanks to UC’s College Credit Plus program. Photo/Danny Kidd