Adult Education Program Prepares Students for Smooth Transition into Post-Secondary Programs
GED graduates of Miami Dade College are all smiles during a graduation ceremony held at the Wolfson Campus in 2009.
Miami, June 17, 2010 - As the nation’s top producer of degrees, Miami Dade College (MDC) wants to ensure all prospective students have a chance to succeed, regardless of their academic background or language skills.
And that is why for the last 12 years, the Adult Education program at MDC has successfully helped students without a high school diploma, as well as those with limited English language skills, further their education and gain employment.
MDC’s Adult Education program is free to all and offers English language skills, adult basic education, and GED preparation that students need to transition into post-secondary programs, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree, and in some cases, career training.
As part of the college’s acclaimed School of Community Education, the Adult Education program is offered at six MDC campuses: Hialeah, Homestead, InterAmerican, Kendall, North, and Wolfson.
“There are people who want to go to college and possibly get more involved in the community but the lack of a basic education often hinders them,” said Susan Dow, MDC’s director of adult education.
“It’s our job to facilitate the process by preparing them in instructional programs such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and GED. The desired end result is they receive a good education and gain employability skills.”
The Adult Education program is student centered on classes designed to maximize student access through classroom and online instruction, individualized student success plans, access to technology, and flexibility of locations and schedules.
In an interview with Diverse (June 10, 2010) magazine recently, MDC president Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón emphasized the significant role community colleges play in restoring the U.S. economy: “We need to recognize that attending and graduating from college is a necessity in today’s work force. That means ensuring that access to higher education continues to expand; and we need to ensure that students are better prepared for college.”
Indeed, students are echoing the sentiments of Dr. Padron and other educators: “Graduating today with your GED is a launching pad for the rest of your life,” said Zachary R. Ronca, liberal studies major who plans to become an actor.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Ronca’s educational pursuits have increased his earning potential. The average salary for a professional actor is $36,550. “If you are willing to work hard you can achieve your goals and become whatever you wish to become,” he added.
MDC has maintained an impressive track record of luring and educating hundreds of students each year to both its ESOL and GED programs. Since 2003, the number of MDC students that pass the GED averages about 600 each year. And more than 500 students transition from ESOL to the GED program each year, due to the influx of foreign students who lack English language skills.
“Many of our ESOL students come to us with professional degrees and established occupations but need to learn English to advance in the American educational system,” said Dow.
Recent GED graduate Javier Leon-Mendez left Havana, Cuba in 2008 to pursue a college education and the American dream. Leon-Mendez said that although he was eager to attend college with his peers, he found it challenging to study because he didn’t speak English. “I knew little English; just the basics. It was shocking because I couldn’t do anything. And to study, which was my main goal, was difficult, he said.
Within a year of enrolling in the ESOL program at MDC and rapidly learning a new vocabulary, Leon-Mendez was so confident about his English that he started the GED program and within two months, passed the test to receive his high school equivalency degree. “Language is the first barrier to break in order to get ahead,” he added.
Based on 2008-09 data from the Florida Department of Education and the College Registrar, here is a statistical breakdown:
Number of GED graduates that transitioned to MDC:219 to associate degree programs and 34 to a combination of college preparatory, postsecondary adult vocational, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program.
Number of ESOL students that transitioned to MDC:162 to associate degree programs; 66 to postsecondary adult vocational programs; 535 to the EAP program.
MDC Adult Education Student Profiles:65 percent are enrolled in ESOL; 35 percent are enrolled in adult basic education/GED program; the typical adult education student is a Hispanic female in her mid-twenties; of those who passed the GED in 2008-09, 26 percent were Black and 57 percent were Hispanic.
For more information about MDC’s Adult Education Program, visit www.mdc.edu/ce/ae.
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, firstname.lastname@example.org, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, email@example.com, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359, firstname.lastname@example.org, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, email@example.com, media specialist