Somerset Community College's Adult Education Program Claims Top Spot in State Rankings
Published on Sep 5, 2023
The phrase, “The more you learn, the more you’ll earn,” isn’t just a saying. It’s a fact. Research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that a person with a high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED) earns $9,400 per year more than someone without a high school diploma.
Helping people learn more so they can improve their lives is the goal of the Adult Education Program at Somerset Community College (SCC). And they are meeting that goal. The program was ranked first in the state for the past year by Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE), which funds the 26 programs in the state.
The top ranking was based on “number of GED’s awarded, number of measurable skills gained, and enrollment,” said April Russell, director of External Education Programs at the college.
Russell says that the program will receive additional “performance funding” for its high ranking. This will help the program expand its services in the five counties it covers—Pulaski, McCreary, Casey, Russell, and Wayne. “There is no cost for classes and no cost for testing,” Russell says. “There’s no cost for anything.”
Cindy McGaha is the director of SCC’s program. She noted that during the last fiscal year, 713 people used their services and 460 showed gains in measurable skills. GEDs were awarded to 162 participants. In the current fiscal year, which began July 1, over 300 people have already applied for the program. Instruction from the SCC program is available in person at the Somerset Campus or at centers in Casey, McCreary and Russell counties. In Wayne County, the Adult Education program is located at the Tradeway Shopping Center. Instruction and assistance are also available online.
When most people think of adult education, they think of GED instruction and testing. And it certainly is a big part of the program, but not all. “We’re more than GED,” says Meghan Tucker, an Adult Education, College and Career Navigator.
Other services offered include improving basic skills, learning English as a second language, preparing for college, and preparing for employment. Some businesses and college programs require specific qualifications and testing standards for applicants. Adult Education works with students to improve these measurable skills scores so they can qualify. Those enrolled can also gain job skills and computer skills.
The length of the instruction depends on “how academically ready they (the students) are,” says Tucker. She noted that some students may take the GED test after a week of instruction while others may need months to prepare. Russell says that anyone seeking Adult Education services can request an appointment on SCC’s website and that the program also “gets referrals from many community partners.”
She says that the program works closely with Project B.E.A.M. (Bringing Education and Achievement to Migrants), and Ready to Work services to bring in students. SCC Adult Education also partners with local detention centers, recovery centers, Goodwill and the Kentucky Career Center to serve individuals who can benefit from the services that are offered. Adult Ed workers also attend court parole hearings for referrals.
Because of the many services it provides, Russell says that SCC’s Adult Education Program is “the do all, be all.” Learn more about SCC’s Adult Education program.