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College offers new ‘pathways’ to education
by Jason Collins
Dec 19, 2013 | 63 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – For many, the prospect of a degree may seem out of reach.

But that is where Dr. Denise Hutchinson-Bell, director of adult basic education at Coastal Bend College, steps in with an option.

State grants are helping CBC offer 12 new career training programs.

Referred to as pathways by the college, these are for those who have completed a high school education or are in the process through enrollment in a GED program, particularly the college’s ABE/GED program.

There is a catch though.

“Once you are in the program, the qualification we ask is that you complete the program,” Hutchinson-Bell said. “We are asking a commitment to the amount of time it will take.”

On average, that amounts to about 98 hours — just more than two weeks of work for the average employee.

New pathways include:

• Bookkeeping specialist certificate

• CIT – Networking certificate

• CIT – Web design certificate

• Criminal justice certificate

• Early childhood specialist certificate

• Medical coding specialist certificate

• Office specialist certificate

• Oil and gas safety certificate

• Oil patch preparation system certificate

• Welding specialist certificate

• CDL certificate

• CNA certificate

In addition, these pathways will assist CBC in providing additional training and education to high school students who are not at the collegiate level but still need a skill to enter into the workforce.

“These are pathways they would normally have to pay for,” she reminded.

Some of these programs would total hundreds, even thousands of dollars in fees for prospective student.

The idea, she said, is get people back in the work force with marketable skills. And, thanks to the grant, this won’t cost a dime.

“These are the areas that have been identified as a need, and that is how we decide on the pathways to be offered,” she said. “We are trying to get the word out to the community.

“We really want people to know about it.

“The supplies, materials and books — everything is provided.”

“They just need to commit to complete the program.”

These career pathways also benefit students participating in the Vocational Advancement Basic Education Grant. The grant aims to build educational and training opportunities at CBC that will help students take advantage of the economic opportunities available in the Eagle Ford Shale. Furthermore, the Vocational Advancement South Texas grant opens up college opportunities and certificate training for students currently underutilized in the region due to lower skills, limited English and lack of a GED or high school diploma.

These pathways have the flexibility to be offered for credit or non-credit and will be offered to the general public and businesses as continuing education courses.

Registration for the pathways needs to be done by Jan. 3.

While the college is on holiday break, the Internet is not.

Those wishing to register can do so www.coastalbend.edu through the continuing education link. Those with questions can reach Hutchinson-Bell in the office at 361-354-2732 or by cell phone at 361-288-5100.

The link also provides additional information about the criteria people must meet to enroll in this particular program.

Only a handful have signed up so far, and Hutchinson-Bell wants that number to grow in the coming days.

“We are aiming for 200 completors,” she said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.

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