SWTJC joins education campaign to get adults back to school and work

SWTJC joins education campaign to get adults back to school and work

Uvalde, TX, April 1, 2021 - With reskilling and upskilling programs in place, adult education is an economic catalyst to help low-skilled adults and their communities recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our programs provide numerous options for participation, including working from home or receiving in-person instruction.

The SWTJC Adult Education Program joins more than 65,000 adult educators in the recently launched Moving Ahead with Adult Ed., a new national campaign to enroll adult learners into programs that equip them with skills that lead to high school equivalency and jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. 

Millions of Americans are out of work or underemployed and need to reskill or upskill to re-enter the workforce or pursue their education. The pandemic has exacerbated the need for services.

The SWTJC adult education programs currently provide instruction for High School Equivalency (HSE), formerly known as GED, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and workforce training classes.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and sanitation protocols are in place for remote and hybrid instruction to ensure a safe learning environment.

An international study indicated that approximately 43 million working-age Americans lack the skills needed for many of the nation’s fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Census, there are over 22 million adults without a high school diploma.

“Adult education provides on-ramps to better jobs and community college,” said SWTJC President Dr. Hector Gonzales. “With adult education, the infrastructure is in place to reskill and upskill Americans and not only get them back into the workforce but get them into better jobs than they had before the pandemic.”

Campaign Partners Coalition on Adult Basic Education and the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education also estimate that for every dollar invested in adult education, a community receives $60 back in increased income, property taxes, and savings on public assistance and legal-system expenses.

The #MovingAheadWithAdultEd campaign focuses on re-engaging the millions of Americans who need additional skills to compete in the workforce to recover financially from the pandemic. Besides providing industry skills training and adult education programs, the campaign also teaches literacy, numeracy, digital literacy and offers high school equivalency classes.

In the Middle Rio Grande Region of Southwest Texas, there are many people are enrolled in SWTJC Adult Education programs. Among them is Eagle Pass resident Selena Valdez, who says, “With the pandemic going on, many of us are jobless, and it is a great benefit to all HSE students to be able to take these classes. Without this opportunity, I could not have mastered my HSE exams. It is a wonderful experience to overcome this challenge and receive my HSE diploma. I am now willing to step into higher education and look for more opportunities in the world. Thank you to Ms. Cardenas.”

Valdez is only one of many who have been impacted positively by the adult education program at SWTJC. The following are testimonials from other HSE participants.

Enedina G. Ramos – Eagle Pass
“My experience at SWTJC was very pleasant. I had been wanting to get my GED for the longest time, but due to time and money issues, I always postponed it. This year was different because the classes would be online due to the pandemic. So, I decided to enroll and to my surprise they offered me the IME-BECA scholarship to help pay for the GED exams. I had a great teacher whom I learned a lot from and in a short period. I was ready, took my exams, and passed my GED. Thank you for all your help Ms. Cardenas and Ms. Bernal.

Jesus M. Gomez – Eagle Pass
“I’m truly grateful for all the support that Southwest Texas Junior College has given me with GED classes. I want to thank my instructor and the wonderful team behind her. She has been supportive and patient with me. They have provided me with all I needed to pass my exams; SWTJC has greatly supported me. I also want to thank the Consulado de Mexico-Eagle Pass for sponsoring my math exam. I appreciate their paying for that test.”

Noemi Sanchez – Del Rio
“I was happy to learn that I was a recipient of the IME-BECA scholarship. This support helped me obtain my GED, which was a goal that sometimes appeared to be far out of my reach. Being a wife and mother of three wonderful children sometimes is overwhelming, and my financial situation was not great. Still, I wanted to show my family that giving up was not an option for me. I was able to focus on my education by putting all my energy into my classes. Being able to get my High School Equivalency Certificate is allowing me to make my goals and dreams come true. I hope one day I can give back and help other students achieve their goals, just the way I have been helped.”

Viviana Alvarez – Uvalde
“Receiving these vouchers was an absolute blessing! It allowed me to accomplish my goals in this program. Especially right now during this pandemic, I am very grateful.”