Expanding access and equity: Nevada County Adult Education program to expand to San Juan Ridge
What: Nevada County Adult Education
Walking into one of Nevada County Adult Education’s classrooms, one is met with an overwhelming feeling of appreciation.
Last week, the students, from a wide range of ages, were learning Excel as part of a newly created administrative assistant class, and were excited about the opportunity to become technologically literate and expand their education with their peers.
Student Marcia Alcott said she’s transitioned from being “computer phobic” to being knowledgeable about computers. Student Christine Kelly noted that she felt “very comfortable” with program administrators.
The shared sentiment made Nevada County Adult Education administrators Karla Aaron and Michael Hughes all the more excited as the program (previously known as Nevada Union Adult Education) is expanding to a satellite campus at the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center.
“We are extremely happy to be able to partner with the high school district and adult education (and) to be able to provide a very worthy and needed service to our community members up here,” said Twin Ridges school district dual principal/superintendent Melissa Madigan, who is part of the district that oversees the family resource center.
Hughes and Madigan hope to do a soft opening in the spring and be fully operational at the San Juan Ridge site by fall. The two did not yet know how many adults would take classes nor how many faculty members would work at the site, but they did mention that memorandums of understanding have been approved by both the Nevada Joint Union High School District and Twin Ridges Elementary School District.
The additional location at the family resource center is important for people who desire higher educational and job attainment, but don’t have a high school diploma or GED and have limited access to a vehicle in a rural county, said Hughes.
“(There are) a lot of moving parts within their life,” he said. “They have a family, they have a job, they may or may not have transportation — their job could be shift work so all of a sudden they’re working during our class time.”
Aaron said expanding their program to the San Juan Ridge is aligned with adult education’s values of access and equity. There are about 6,000 adults in Nevada County without a high school diploma or equivalent degree, which stymies their economic opportunities, said Hughes.
“We try to think about what the barriers are ahead of time, and circumvent it,” said Aaron.
After opening an adult education site at Bear River High School in January, Aaron said the program has more plans for expansion. She expects administrators to be able to open a Penn Valley site in one year.
Concerning the family resource center, Madigan said it’s the perfect place to hold adult education classes as it’s an important community hub, offering play groups for kids, yoga classes, sports and arts camps, and acts as a book lending library as well as a clothing and food pantry.
“It speaks volumes for the community up here,” she said.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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