College awarded grant for GED prep classes
By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Lord Fairfax Community College has been awarded a grant to operate Adult Basic Education programs in the northern Shenandoah Valley, effective this month.
Chris Coutts, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, said LFCC only learned of the change this week. The community college's Adult Basic Education program will combine the Northern Shenandoah Valley Adult Education and the Page County Adult Education programs.
"We're still working in close partnership with the area school systems," Coutts said. The grant will provide services in Clarke, Frederick, Page, Warren and Shenandoah counties, as well as the city of Winchester. The individual school systems will still control most aspects of the classes and their location, he added.
"This is a regional approach, but we want to respect the footprint of what's been done before," Coutts said. Some aspects of the program may be expanded within the budget, he said.
"Traditionally, LFCC has done college classes, and things dealing with career readiness," he said. "Adding this piece certainly compliments what we do."
The program will help community members of all ages prepare to take the GEDs, a test that if passed certifies that the taker has high school level academic skills. Before beginning the program, participants will take an assessment, which will assist them in realizing the amount of time they'll need to devote to the classes.
"This is very much dependent on the individual," Coutts said. While some students may need a few weeks, others may need to spend a year in the program. Other factors can contribute, like jobs, other classes or family responsibilities.
Coutts said he's noticed that the number of people wanting to get their GED is increasing, because it can lead to better opportunities for work or continuing to high education.
"One thing we pay attention to is the number of people going through this program successfully, so that we can help them follow a specific tract that will be part of a career pathway," Coutts said. "In this economy, there are a lot of people looking to be a part of this kind of program, and I only see that number increasing in the future."
More information on the program will be available on LFCC's website, but Coutts encouraged those interested to contact the college.
"We've got our courses for credit and transfer, we have our middle college program and work force preparation ... this really fits neatly with our mesh of opportunities," Coutts said. He added that there's no specific tuition for the program, but the cost will depend on the time taken to complete it.
"A lot of the work is self-paced and depends on the student's personal goals," he said. "This program is designed to be flexible."