By Karla Prudhomme
The beginning of the school year is an excellent time to consider ‘going back to school’ for the hundreds of local adults, age 18-85, that never earned a high school diploma.
Whatever the motivation, The Mountain City/Johnson County Adult Education program is open and available to help locals reach their goals.
There are many misconceptions about Adult Education, what the program is, its purpose, and how it works. Unlike K-12 schools that operate under the Department of Education, Adult Education operates and is funded by the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The focus is on helping adults become employable in an occupation with a living wage. The logical approach to helping adults gain employment in an occupation that provides a living wage for them and their family is by assisting them in earning an equivalency diploma which is a minimum requirement for any state job, the U.S. Military, most employers, and for admission to any technical training school, community college or university. Many adults who enter the Adult Education program also have personal reasons for wanting to earn an equivalency diploma, including, personal fulfillment, keeping a long-time promise that they made to themselves, or having the ability to help their children or grandchildren with their homework.
The most shocking thing for adults just entering the Adult Education program is the difference in the approach to learning. Most people only experience school and education at their K-12. However, this is by design, as adults learn differently than children. Adult students quickly learn to love learning, which is very rewarding to witness, and one of the main reasons adult education teachers love what they do! Another extremely rewarding thing to witness is an Adult Education Graduation Ceremony, as the adult graduates have their spouses, parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren there to cheer them on and celebrate their stellar accomplishments.
Adult Education is a year-round program, free of charge, and thanks to our former and current Governors, the HiSET Test is also free. The HiSET Test took the place of the GED test back when many states across the nation decided that it was a more cost-effective move. Though this was a decision based on economic reasons, this change provided many benefits for adult students. Adults who take and pass the HiSET Test will earn an equivalency diploma that is accepted by the United States Military, all colleges and universities, and state governments throughout the United States.
Recent local graduates have gone on to work for Johnson County Schools, Northeast Correctional Facility, have entered the military, or gone onto college. The possibilities are endless, but one thing is certain; education is the most effective pathway out of poverty. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, stop in or call the Mountain City/Johnson County Adult Education classroom (423) 460-3330, at 370 Cold Springs Road.