At age 80, Juventina Garcia knew there was more to life in Birmingham.

She took a chance at gaining more education and is a current English as a Second Language (ESL) student at Lawson State Community College. She, along with more than 29,000 other Alabama residents, is celebrated nationally this week during Adult Education & Family Literacy Week. Governor Kay Ivey signed a proclamation recognizing the week from Sept. 20-26, 2020.

The Alabama Community College System and its colleges are using social media this week to spread the word on adult education services available throughout the state. Our colleges take the lead in delivering adult education programs that assist residents who need basic skills to succeed in the state’s workforce. If a student needs a GED, high school diploma (after having either not completed classes after age 19 or having not passed the exit exam), ESL classes, or workforce certifications, there are more than 400 adult education providers across the state to assist.

The Ready to Work program grants industry-recognized credentials to students who complete the program.

Not only do students benefit from completing adult education classes in the state. If a student completes the program he or she begins with adult education, then the student is granted a free community college class. This was the recent case for two students at Jefferson State Community College who completed their GED: both were awarded renewable scholarships toward the completion of a two-year program at Jeff State.

Adult education works.  The Coalition on Adult Basic Education estimates that 73 percent of learners entering federally funded Adult Education programs receive diplomas and meet their goals. That number is extremely valuable, as more than 36 million Americans are unable to read or write at the most basic level, while 60 million lack basic math skills or credentials necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.

COABE estimates the economy gains back $2.5 billion in tax revenue and reduced expenses for every 400,000 adults who earn a high school diploma. The estimated value to our economy in reduced costs for public support programs for low skilled, low literate adults is $200 billion annually.

It took 10 years for Trenholm State Community College alum Andrew Selmar to earn his GED after dropping out of school in the eighth grade, but perseverance led him to a successful venture.  Once he earned his GED in July 2018, Andrew said he began college at Trenholm on a full scholarship for music. He later became the first president of the Trenholm State Collegiate Chorale and serves as an assistant to Mr. Lewis L. Webb Jr., the Director of Music at the college.

“This is just the beginning of my academic success story,” he said.

“I plan to use my knowledge to help educate others and better serve my community.”

If you’re interested in learning more about any of Alabama’s community college adult education programs, click this link.