Tammy Siverson teaches a GED class at the Mid-Plains Community College Imperial Campus. The Adult Education Program at the campus will be getting a boost thanks to a $2,500 grant.
Students in the Mid-Plains Community College Adult Education Program at Imperial will have even more resources at their fingertips thanks to a $2,500 Incentive Grant from the Coalition on Adult Basic Education.
The funds will be used to launch GED Achieve, a six-week program designed to engage and inspire adult learners to persist through the MPCC Adult Education program, earn a GED and then either enroll in college or secure higher-paying employment.
"After COVID hit our small-town last year, the GED students lost their drive to continue their studies," said English as a Second Language/ABE instructor Tammy Siverson. "We have been working hard to bring them back on board and now have seven. I am hopeful this grant will light a fire with them to finish their studies and continue their education or find employment."
According to the American Community Survey put out by the U.S. Census Bureau, about 14 percent of the over 25 population served by the MPCC Imperial Campus has not completed high school. As a result, those residents earn an average of $5,000 per year less than those who have completed high school.
The area's robust farming industry attracts Hispanic and Latino migrant workers who make up about 12 percent of the population. However, according to the survey, nearly 87 percent of Hispanic/Latino residents have not obtained a high school diploma.
Currently, all of the students enrolled in MPCC's adult education program in Imperial are of Hispanic/Latino descent. The program has consistently enrolled between five and 10 students every year since 2019 but only 20 percent of them have demonstrated program progression, and only two have acquired GEDs over the past three years.
Siverson is hopeful GED Achieve can turn those statistics around. It will be offered as a supplemental program that will coincide with the adult education classes already offered in Imperial.
Those who participate in GED Achieve will learn about careers, steps to achieve their education and employment goals and professional skills that could help them land and retain a job.
Classes will meet once a week for six weeks over the lunch hour. Every meeting will focus on a different topic and will include speakers such as a Gallup-certified strengths coach, former adult education students and a career exploration expert.
Students will learn about first impressions, professional attire, workplace behavior and customer service and will receive assistance with job applications, résumés, cover letters, personal timelines for goal development and mock job interviews among other things.
The goal is to provide at least 75 percent of students enrolled in the MPCC Imperial Adult Education program with the confidence, skills and education necessary to increase their self-awareness and to help them recognize how useful their personal strengths and talents can be in the workforce.
GED Achieve is also designed to help students successfully complete a high school equivalency exam within one year of enrolling in the MPCC Imperial Adult Education program.
The grant will help offset the cost of two laptops, StrengthsFinder supplies, the cost of a Strengths coach and a "Be Successful at Work" handbook for students.
Following a trial of the GED Achieve program in Imperial, it may eventually be rolled out to other adult education sites throughout MPCC's 18-county service area.