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Reimagine the future of Adult Education

By Karla Prudhomme
Freelance Writer

The days of attending a local Adult Education program to only earn an equivalency diploma, better known as a GED, are no more, as the Tennessee Department of Adult Education is rolling out Career Readiness, Certification, and Apprenticeship programs across the state.
The addition of ‘Integrated Education and Training’ (IET) programs in area Adult Education classrooms are a collaborative effort from federal and state agencies. As a division of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Tennessee Department of Adult Education operates within the framework of the federal ‘Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’ (WIOA), which was sponsored by North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx and signed into law in 2014. According to U.S. Representative Foxx, the act is designed to “help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market.”
“We are not just about getting diplomas” stated District 1 Director of Adult Education, Robert McKinney, “as Integrated Education and Training also involves helping people enter the workforce or get better jobs by offering a wide variety of workforce preparation activities including digital literacy, soft skills, apprenticeships, and a plethora of career readiness and manufacturing certifications”. District 1 of the Tennessee Department of Adult Education includes the eight Northeast Tennessee counties of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington, and Johnson, and operates under Northeast State Community College.
According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, “preparing for and achieving career readiness certification is an effective way to build skills and gain a nationally recognized credential that acts as proof of that skill, giving employers a reliable way to measure foundational skills to ensure they are hiring the most qualified, trainable candidates.” Those that can benefit from credential attainment include the unemployed, the underemployed, returning retirees, and those seeking a career change. “Our adult education programs across the state have an emphasis on workforce preparation, as teachers and staff are helping students not only with their academic skills, but also improving students’ soft skills to help them be more employable” said Adult Education Assistant Administrator, Teresa Smith.
With a variety of career readiness, certification, and job skills programs available through Tennessee Adult Education, adult learners now have the opportunity to not only earn an equivalency diploma, but also attain desirable certifications
and skills. The Johnson County Adult Education
classroom is located at 370 Cold Springs Road. For further information stop in, or call (423)460-3330.