Two new partnerships are helping Enterprise State Community College expand its adult education and workforce development efforts in the Wiregrass.
ESCC provides free Adult Education services to help students become college and career-ready. The College offers adult education classes at 15 locations throughout Coffee, Dale, Geneva, and Pike Counties, and thanks to Christ Community Church in Enterprise, the College can now add another site to the list.
“This free GED class is so crucial to the Christ Community Church family and what we believe is our mission to the Enterprise community and surrounding area,” Christ Community Church Lead Pastor Joey Turman said. “We are excited for the chance to help people earn their GED and continue their education. We feel that the completion of this program can be life-changing for those who participate. Acquiring a GED places many individuals in a more feasible position for gainful employment, and it opens the prospect for continued education to enhance an individual’s life. It has definitely been proven to open doors for others and be a tremendous blessing to families in the community.”
Not only will instructors provide adult education classes at Christ Community Church, but other services, like childcare, will be provided. The first class was held at the church on Sept. 7, and classes are scheduled to take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the church.
“I am personally thankful for our volunteers who have grasped the vision to make a difference in our community by helping others,” Turman said. “With so much trouble around us today with COVID, shutdowns, and many other tremendous challenges, Christ Community Church desires to be a place where people can find a helping hand and a caring heart.”
In addition to adding a new adult education site, ESCC is partnering with the City of Troy, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast AlabamaWorks to provide a unique workforce training opportunity for those 18 and older with misdemeanor records.
The Pike County Re-Entry Program (PREP) is a free program developed to “provide an opportunity for employment and the development of workforce skills for those who may have certain barriers – such as limited education, job experience or criminal record(s) – to gaining employment and give individuals a chance to build a life here in Pike County,” Cameron Rice, liaison for the City of Troy, said.
“The City of Troy is extremely excited to partner with ESCC and Southeast AlabamaWorks to create more opportunities for the citizens of Troy and Pike County, and we are looking forward to watching this program grow and helping many citizens in our city,” he said.
Participants in PREP will take Alabama Ready to Work (RTW) course offered through ESCC and learn industry-recognized skills like Precision Measurement and Basic Blueprint Reading while using the latest VR equipment, provided to the College by TransfrVR.
“From the governor down, Alabama has been pushing for dynamic programs like this one that allows us to engage more of our unreached workforce since reaching our record-low pre-pandemic unemployment numbers,” Southeast AlabamaWorks Workforce Development Manager Katie Thomas said of the program. “When unemployment compensation claims are less than three percent of the workforce, there is a shift from finding people who need a job to find people who want a job, which results in us shifting our strategies to reach our workforce’s potential.
“With those strategic shifts, our focus is less on finding what jobs are available for our citizens, and more on finding available workers for our business and industry partners,” Thomas said. “As a result of this program, and other re-entry programs across southeast Alabama, we can directly connect business and industry with more qualified talent pools, filled with people who want a second chance to work a full-time job.”
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has identified “Second Chance Employers” in the community. According to Thomas, these employers have jobs available where PREP participants will be able to work with their hands, including in manufacturing, food production and general labor. After completing the six-week course, participants will be able to apply for open positions with these employers. Additionally, those who complete PREP and stay employed for six months will be eligible for an extension on repaying court fees.
To participate in PREP, individuals will need to contact the Pike County Court Referral Office. The first PREP class will be held on Sept. 14.
ESCC’s Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development Leigh Shiver said the College is proud to partner with these community organizations to provide more opportunities for success to those in the community.
“At Enterprise State, we want to help our students find their path forward, whether academically through our adult education classes or in their career with our workforce training opportunities,” Shiver said. “We are our community’s college, and with these new partnerships, we’re able to help more people within our community take those first steps toward their future. Our goal is to develop more partnerships like these in the future.”
Cutline: ESCC’s newest partner, Christ Community Church in Enterprise, will provide a new site for adult education services. Pictured, back row, from left, are ESCC Adult Education Instructor Jonathan Smith, Adult Education Coordinator Steve Graves and Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development Leigh Shiver. Pictured, front row, from left, are Christ Community Church GED Director and Instructor Cecelia Englewood, Lead Pastor Joey Turman, Adult Education Instructor Amanda Martin and student Jon Martin.