“Our Adult Education program is one of the best kept secrets in Athens,” said Stephanie Benson, Vice President for Adult Education and Institutional Effectiveness.
“With a limited marketing budget, it is hard for us to share all the opportunities available. Adult Education is so much more than just earning a GED. We provide career training for students with barriers to traditional education and assist with support services to enable students to reach their educational goals,” she continued.
The Adult Education program at Athens Technical College aims to help adults of all ages acquire skills that will make them more successful in the workplace, the college environment, and in all parts of society. Last year, they collaborated with the Athens Clarke County Department of Corrections to provide welding certification training utilizing the ATC mobile welding lab.
The Adult Education program also offers English Language Acquisition and Citizenship classes. Additionally, the program has free Basic Literacy as well as High School Equivalency classes with online options. For those people who can’t pay the GED testing fee, Athen Technical College has set up a donation-based scholarship fund.
In 2019, over 30 students earned their citizenship through their civics program. In addition, they established an ATC Clothes Closet to provide professional interview clothing and created a food pantry for their students.
The impactful work of Athens Technical College and the Adult Education program is getting recognition both at the state and national levels.
At the state level, the Adult Education program was chosen to be one of 5 High School Equivalency Career Plus pilot schools for the state of Georgia. While at the national level, the U.S. Department of State, Study of the U.S. Institute on Youth, Workforce Development, and Closing the Skills Gap Institute for Scholars group visited Athens’ Adult Education program to learn about best practices.
In addition, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) nominated ATC’s Stephanie Benson as one of the candidates for the National Program Administrator of the Year Award through the Coalition on Adult Basic Education.
Stephanie Benson said, “I think the most exciting part about my job is that there is no ‘average’ day. We are involved with so many different initiatives in the community that one day we might be focusing on job training for returning citizens and the next we are helping students earn their high school equivalency and transition to college.”
Stephanie Benson has been with Athens Technical College for the past fifteen years and served in her current role as the Vice President of Adult Education since 2014. When asked about her personal philosophies, she said: “I believe in student success through second chances.”
Because of her leadership, the Adult Education program at ATC is helping students achieve their goals and better our community as a whole. Thank you, Stephanie, for your dedication to education and second chances.