Getting a job these days is hard enough, but getting one without basic education is almost impossible.
Thanks to the Georgia Work Ready Initiative, Savannah Technical College is offering GED (the general education development diploma) test prep classes and Work Ready certification free of charge in Rincon and all of its campuses.
The programs are available to anyone age 16 or older, although students under 18 must officially withdraw from school. GED class enrollment requires a two-day registration and orientation which includes a pre-test assessment evaluating whether, how often and how long they will need to come to classes to prepare for the GED test. The pre-test assessment shows instructors a student’s strengths and weaknesses so they can focus on specific needs.
The program is self-paced, which is why Charita Boles, executive director of the STC adult education program, never answers when someone asks how long it will take to pass the test.
“Each student comes in with different educational needs, and so we better answer that question after we’ve assessed the student, because we have to take in the factor of your attendance and where you are in the reading, math and language on how far we have to take you to pass the test,” she said. “It depends on the individual.”
Progress is tracked throughout the program so students can feel confident when they take the state GED exam.
Those who don’t need to take the GED test can benefit from the program through what Boles refers to as “enrichment,” or brushing up on those basic skills that people can lose being out of school for a while.
Of the students who attend classes on a regular basis and stick to their personalized program, adult education instructor Alethia Bradshaw-Scott estimates between 80 and 90 percent successfully pass the GED test.
Boles also said that the adult education instructors in Effingham, including Bradshaw-Scott and John Seaman, are “veteran” instructors and that the students are in capable hands. GED class sessions are Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. and on Mondays and Wednesday there is an evening session from 4-7 p.m.
“GED is just one portion of what we offer. We are encouraging all our students to take the Georgia Work Ready assessment,” Boles said.
“Because with them taking that assessment, that makes them more employable, especially after they receive their GED, that’s something else that will help them find a job.”
Georgia Work Ready certification indicates to employers which jobseekers understand core skills — such as math and reading comprehension — and positive workplace behaviors and attitudes, such as organization and drive. The assessment ranks from bronze, silver, gold and platinum. You can register to take the Work Ready assessment on testing days online at www.savannahtech.edu or by calling (912) 443-3014.
STC adult educators recommend students transition into credit courses at the college and have set a goal this fiscal year for 37 percent of students who get their GED to further their education at STC.
“(Getting a GED) is the first step in opening so many doors for students, or potential students,” Boles said. “If the student doesn’t have a GED, they are limited in their employment opportunities. This will open the door to enroll in certain classes here in the college and better job opportunities. It helps a student — especially if you have children and you want to be able to be an example — to show (their) children the importance of finishing. It doesn’t matter what age, but I did it, I finished. And then that helps to carry that on with the child.”
Additionally, the White Bluff campus of Savannah Tech offers English as a second language courses free to anyone 16 or older with a state-issued ID. Boles said they would be happy to offer it at the Rincon campus as well if they saw a stronger need for this service in Effingham.
The next registration dates for GED prep courses in Effingham will be July 13-14 and 27-28 1 p.m.-4 p.m. New students must attend all three hours of both days in order to start classes. STC and the Effingham County Board of Education are both official GED testing sites and usually offer the test once a month.
While the classes are free, the student is expected to pay $95 to take the GED test and $19 for a single subject of the test.