Calhoun Community College: New Training Initiative for Adult Learners

Sherika Attipoe
Member Spotlight

Calhoun Community College and Drake State Community & Technical College officials have developed a partnership that will not only address learning obstacles for adult learners, but job training needs as well. Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) is a free program designed specifically for individuals who do not have a high school diploma and want to become more employable. Individuals who enroll in the program have access to educational resources focused on improving their reading, math, and language skills to obtain a GED, learn English as a second language, and/or earn a manufacturing or logistics certification.

Below is some of the free programming enrolled students can take advantage of through the new GOAL collaborative initiative:

  • Adult Basic Skills (ABS) classes are offered for students who do not have a high school diploma and need to review and improve basic reading, math, and language skills. These classes are specifically designed to assess learners’ basic skills and meet them where they are on the learning spectrum.
  • Digital literacy courses are taught in a hybrid format and cover computer basics; Internet basics; Windows 10; and the basic principles of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This is the perfect training class for entry-level computer users.
  • The English Language Acquisition program at GOAL Alabama uses rigorous research and evidence-based instruction to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening at every level. The core texts used in each English as a Second Language class were developed by expert English educators based on research and standards.
  • The Fast Track Academy is a seven-week summer college prep program for recent high school graduates who need additional in-person math and English instruction.
  • GED classes and testing are offered for learners within the college’s service area.
  • The Manufacturing Skills Standards Council Certified Production Technician (MSSC CPT) Manufacturing Certification is designed for those looking to develop foundational knowledge of manufacturing processes and production, safety, maintenance awareness, and lean manufacturing principles.
  • The certified Ready to Work program provides individuals with the necessary entry-level skills required for employment with most businesses and industries in Alabama, including training opportunities in fields such as manufacturing, welding, and logistics through MSSC or CLA/CLT.
  • Students Taking Effective Pathways to Success (STEPS) combines MSSC and Ready to Work’s certified curriculum into one robust program that provides students with the basic knowledge needed to succeed in the manufacturing industry.

According to Dana Wolfe, Alabama Community College System (ACCS) North Region Director of Adult Education,

The chancellor of the ACCS had a vision of oneness for our colleges, which is now called One ACCS. . . . The presidents of Calhoun and Drake embraced that vision and felt we were better together. They jointly decided that adult education had the biggest need and was the best place to combine efforts to start a cohesive program to address that area.

GOAL will enable both colleges to broaden services to students in need, the community, and industry partners. All existing programs will remain under the adult education umbrella and deliver the same level of quality, but GOAL will allow the institutions to offer more work-based learning, short certificates, MSSC training, and national certifications to adults who want to increase their knowledge and skill sets to earn better wages. “Right now, there are 364,000 individuals in the state of Alabama who have not earned their high school diploma,” commented David Walters, ACCS State Director of Adult Education. “We hope that the hard work that has gone into making this vision a reality will help bridge that gap, as we have so many educational and career pathways established that will assist adult learners throughout their career journey,” he added.

“When thinking about where we would kick off our first neutral location for GOAL, Asbury Church stepped right in and has been a wonderful partner in this amazing adult education partnership,” said Dr. Jimmy Hodges, Calhoun Interim President. He continued,

I absolutely love adult education and feel it is a major heartbeat of the community college system. We are the answer for that individual who believes it is too late to go back, for that individual who believes this is the best they can do in their current employment situation. GOAL is designed to create greater opportunities for those people who want to change their life, and we are excited to be able to provide such a solid program to help them achieve their educational and career goals.

“It has finally happened,” commented Dr. Pat Sims, President of Drake State Community & Technical College. She added,

We are excited to be able to provide such a robust program with a focus on adult learners. So many times those unique learners slip through the cracks; with this partnership, we are shining a light on their potential and are ready to help them advance through one of the many pathways designed with their success in mind.

The new training initiative for adult learners is growing daily as individuals sign up and take advantage of the training resources that will help them land a job, or get a better job.

Click here or to learn more about GOAL.

Lead image: Pictured from left to right are Dr. Jimmy Hodges, Interim President, Calhoun Community College; Dana Wolfe, North Regional Director, Adult Education, Alabama Community College System; Dr. Patricia Sims, President, Drake State Community & Technical College; David Walters, State Director, Adult Education, Alabama Community College System

Sherika Attipoe is Assistant Director of Public Relations and Digital Media at Calhoun Community College in Huntsville, Alabama.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.