Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

What Works! How One Community College Gave Displaced Factory Workers the Confidence to Enroll

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

What Works! How One Community College Gave Displaced Factory Workers the Confidence to Enroll

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

PROBLEM

A few years ago, hundreds of displaced factory workers in southern Iowa were looking for training to reintegrate into the workforce when the Exide Battery Corp., closed shop in the area and they were laid off.

ACTION

Community leaders, administrators from Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa, and displaced workers gathered to come up with a solution and developed College 101: A Program For Displaced Workers:' The three-part, eight-hour crash course was designed to ease the apprehensions that many mid-career workers would have in enrolling in a college or university.

"People who are in the workforce are intimidated by the idea of returning to school to train for their next career. After a lay off, especially when the person was employed for many years with high earnings, it is critical to retrain for the new economy," says Linda Gidley, regional director of the Workforce Investment Act.

In the first meeting, participants discussed career choices, the college catalog, class selections and the assessment tests they would be given during the second session. Participants then took the placement tests (ASSET and COMPASS) in the second meeting, and in their final session they went through step-by-step procedures for admissions, financial aid, book store operations and took a campus tour. …

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