Thursday, January 26, 2017

CVTC Opens New Adult Ed Services Area

Spring semester started Jan. 23

Article Photo - CVTC Opens New Adult Ed Services Area

CVTC Adult Education Services instructor Juli Baker, standing, speaks with her class during the first week of the Spring 2017 semester. New classroom and lab facilities for the Adult Education students opened Jan. 23.

Instructor Jill Mayer noticed an increase in students coming to the Adult Education Services lab at Chippewa Valley Technical College when the new semester started Monday, Jan. 23. As in previous years, they came to get one-on-one help to prepare for their General Education Diploma test, or to learn some basic computer or study skills.

“In the first two days we definitely had higher numbers of students, and they’re really excited about the individual help and small group instruction,” Mayer said.

But why so many this year, compared to the start of other semesters? As Realtors and retailers say, it’s all about location, location, location.

Adult Education Services facilities are now in the heart of student activity at the Business Education Center in Eau Claire. Previously, the lab was in a cramped room in the corner of the second floor and nothing much distinguished the separate classrooms used for group instruction.

“The new space puts us front and center,” said Jennifer Anderegg, CVTC dean of academic development & services. “It is close to Student Central and the Learning Center, and many students pass by it on their way into the building.”

The lab is much larger, most areas are interconnected and the GED students now have their own area for the group instruction.

“This is a much more modern space, designed for adults, not a high school-like setting,” said Anderegg.

Adult Education Services provides basic education services such as help with reading, writing, math, vocabulary and computer skills; GED preparation; and English Language Learning (ELL) for students who need to improve their English speaking skills for work or further education. Though the program is largest in Eau Claire, CVTC also offers Adult Education Services at its Chippewa Falls, River Falls, Menomonie and Neillsville campuses.

The new Eau Claire facility features two classrooms for ELL students, one of the largest groups served.

ELL instructor Juli Baker said CVTC fills an important community need with the classes. While UW-Eau Claire has a program, it is designed to prepare students for university study. Only CVTC and Literacy Chippewa Valley have programs to prepare people to live and work in the community. Baker added the students are enjoying the new classrooms, which are decorated with flags and information from their home countries.

“We’re close to the social center of the college, which helps students feel more connected with the college, and the community,” Baker said.

The instruction is important to students like Kazua Xiong Lee, a Hmong woman who came to the area from Laos two years ago after marrying an American-born Hmong.

“When I first came here, I didn’t speak English – just a little,” Lee said. “I’m looking to improve my English and go to college, perhaps for pharmacy, or to continue the chemistry studies I started in Laos.”

Students who did not complete high school depend on CVTC for help earning their GED or HSED.

“Right now in the GED program, we’ve got a boot camp going on in conjunction with Workforce Resource,” Mayer said. “It’s an intensive period of preparation to prepare them for the GED tests. This new facility allows us to do more group instruction.”

“The college puts a high priority on meeting the needs of all students,” Anderegg said. “This new area helps some of our most under-served population in the community.”

Currently, CVTC’s Adult Education Services is also working on a collaborative project with the Eau Claire Area School District to prepare students with disabilities for life after graduation.

Besides the new Adult Education Services facility, with the start of the new semester, CVTC welcomed some new programs. Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing associate degree programs started in January, as well as a new nine-credit Nail Technician technical diploma.