A student takes college classes while in high school, receives a college degree and begins his career one year after high school graduation. The student follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by pursuing the same profession, instrumentation technician.
To many people this scenario is a dream, but two River Parishes Community College students are living it. This story features one of two RPCC graduates who earned Associate degrees after one year in college. Joseph “T-Joe” Blanchard graduated this May with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Instrumentation Technology one year after graduating from St. Amant High School.
T-Joe earned his two-year degree in one year because of his participation in the dual enrollment program at RPCC. Dual enrollment allows public high school students in Louisiana to enroll in college classes that give credit for high school and college. Dual enrollment also prepares students for the rigors of college-level classes often without the student leaving the high school campus. The classes which are offered in area high schools depend on availability and the needs of the individual students. T-Joe chose to take classes on RPCC’s campus because of the type of training equipment needed for the instrumentation program.
Because his father and grandfather were instrumentation technicians, industrial instrumentation technology was not a random choice for T-Joe. T-Joe took several instrumentation classes and he was hooked.
When asked what he liked about instrumentation, T-Joe said, “It’s hands-on, and you’re always learning new things because of the new technology in the plant.”
The instrumentation program received some new hardware and equipment courtesy of a donation from a federal grant. The instrumentation program received two precision gauges and a monometer, which allow instrumentation technicians to calibrate instruments while ensuring the instruments measure what they are supposed to measure.
T-Joe is also participating in a year-long internship with C F Industries, a fertilizer manufacturer and distributor that produces Nitrogen in its Donaldsonville plant. C F Industries is also a generous long-term supporter and financial contributor of RPCC.