Happy Literacy Day

When you educate one person, you can change a life; when you educate many, you can change the world.” —Shai Reshef, Israeli businessman and academic administrator

The Texarkana College Adult Education and Literacy Program changes lives every day by providing the community free access to several courses through funding from the Texas Workforce Commission. The program’s mission is to provide Adult Learners, ages 17 and older, the opportunity to transition to an institution of higher education and/or the workforce by providing the academic and marketable skills necessary to achieve their educational and career goals. The entire AEL team works to make learning a positive and rewarding experience for all students enrolled in the program.

The High School Equivalency Certificate (HSE), formerly GED, program is the most known. Participants who enter the HSE program range in skills from elementary to high school levels. Instructors currently provide virtual (Zoom) and in-person instruction focused on one of the four content areas required on the certification exams. Besides instructor led lessons, students also have access to online learning software and other resources. Classes are offered at the Texarkana College campus, the Northeast Texas Workforce Solutions in Texarkana, and at Atlanta High School in Cass County. Classes are available in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Classes are also provided at the Bowie County Women’s Recovery Center. While working on a HSE, students begin the transition process to a college academic program, workforce training, or employment. “In addition to the awesome faculty and staff in the Adult Education Department, I take pride in preparing our students to be a positive force in the community. Once a student has obtained his or her HSE, it will open many doors that were previously closed to the student. The staff and instructors are here to help students meet their goals. No goals are too low or too high that we can’t help students to meet,” stated HSE Instructor, Dr. Glorious Melton.

English as a Second Language is also offered. These courses provide students from beginning to advanced levels with instruction on writing, reading, and speaking English. Virtual and in-person classes are available in the afternoons and evenings at the TC Campus. Students have access to an online curriculum and other resources while enrolled. Citizenship curriculum is also available to students. Students enrolled in ESL classes have varying goals, such as day-to-day communication, transitioning to HSE classes, college, or employment. “To be sure, my students come from all walks of life, but the majority are educated, upper-middle-class people driven from their homes by poverty, violence, war, cruelty, or governmental incompetence. These are the best students any teacher could wish–driven, disciplined, perseverant, and always grateful. They so remind me of my Italian great-grandparents: gritty, willing to work for every dime they got, full of love and determination. Every grandchild and great-grandchild became a college graduate. I suspect most of my students will produce similar outcomes,” stated Bill Owney, ESL Instructor.

Students who need assistance with college, training, or employability entrance skills, may enroll in Basic Skills classes. These courses are focused on assisting students in the content area or areas where they need improvement for reaching their goal. For example, a student needing to improve a TEAS, TSIA, TABE, or ASVAB placement score can get help in math, reading, language, or other area. This course has limited offerings, but it can sometimes be available on a one-on-one basis. Students enrolled at TC also receive services through non course-based option to improve skills in either English or math, so they qualify to take developmental and/or college-level courses and ultimately complete degree plans. Instructor Ann Coleman stated, “I have seen firsthand the difference it makes in students’ lives when they successfully pass these placement tests. During the current environment, I have worked with several students on a one-on-one basis doing Zoom classes to improve their test scores. This individual instruction seems to be the key to their success! As their instructor, I can pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses and work on areas of concern. I am happy to report that they were successful in passing the tests required for enrollment in their given field. Not only are they setting an example for their children by getting their degree, but they are also able to get better paying jobs. This is what makes my job so rewarding!”

Besides offering these courses, AEL also collaborates with the TC Community and Business Education Allied Health Program to provide academic and financial support for students entering training courses to become dental assistants, certified nurses’ aides, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomy technicians, medical billing and coding, medication aides, and clinical medical assistants. This program is called Integrated Education and Training. Students receive half of their tuition fees and reading, study skills, and workforce preparation instruction from AEL while training for a new career in Allied Health. Between July 2019 and June 2020, AEL assisted 27 students in Allied Health with more than $25,000 in funding. ESL students also have training opportunities. Last program year, 12 students took a basic computer skills course. This program year, there are plans for an entrepreneurship course and para-professional course for ESL students. “The Adult Education program, in partnership with the Allied Health programs at Texarkana College, helps students improve their basic reading and math skills, as well as job-related skills, so that when they complete their training program, they are highly employable in the Texarkana area,” stated Kippie Hartcraft, IET Instructor.

In 2019-2020, 348 students received classes and/or training through Texarkana College AEL. The caring staff is dedicated to building relationships and addressing student needs so that students can be successful in and out of the classroom. Career Navigator Sacoyle Baker stated, “I think our program hits the ball out of the park when it comes to assisting students in transitioning to work, college, or training. We service students from all walks of life, who all need different things. So, we work with them hand-in-hand to figure out their next steps. From personalized goal setting, to resume help, to college admissions, we want to ensure that our students successfully walk into their next phase of life with the confidence needed to succeed. A student from one of our latest training classes mentioned to me how ‘they would not have been able to complete their training without our academic class support’. It’s a blessing to be able to offer these types of services to the community and see the results of the hard work.” 


Funding Provided by… Texas Workforce Commission

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas. TWC strengthens the Texas economy by providing the workforce development component of the Governor’s economic development strategy. Texas boasts an incredibly skilled workforce ready to attract enterprise to the Lone Star State. By focusing on the needs of employers, TWC gives Texas the competitive edge necessary to draw business here.


Class Location… Workforce Solutions of Northeast Texas

Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas is responsible for the implementation and oversight of workforce development services in the nine-county Northeast Texas region, which includes Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River, and Titus Counties. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires Workforce Boards to develop strategic plans and set priorities for the regional workforce development system.


Class Location… Texarkana College

The mission of Texarkana College is to advance the community through attainable higher education and lifelong learning. By adhering to the institution’s core values of opportunity, excellence, community, success and integrity they continue to increase the number of people with higher education credentials in the region.


Lisa Jones, Texarkana College Adult Education & Literacy Program Director

 

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