Technology Supports Adult Education
Technology skills play a crucial role in being able to complete the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) program. Beginning in 2014, Connecticut GED coursework and testing require students to have access to a computer and basic computer skills. As the number of people competing for entry level jobs has increased, prospective employers have raised their expectations of job candidates’ educational levels. Entry level jobs are now difficult for adult Americans to obtain without a high school diploma or GED credential.
The Housing Authority of the City of Bristol (BHA) provides housing for low and moderate income families, elderly and non-elderly disabled. The mission of BHA is to “create opportunities for affordable housing in a suitable living environment and to promote self-sufficiency in our community.” BHA strives to fulfill its mission by providing residents with a wide range of services, including access to GED courses and career development workshops.
In the past, financially challenged residents lacking adequate childcare options, personal computers, or transportation to the Bristol Adult Education Center were deterred from pursuing a GED. To surmount these obstacles, BHA partnered with Bristol Adult Education to offer GED classes to residents on site in the Cambridge Park Community Room. The program serves individuals who live in Cambridge Park, Bonnie Acres, and other surrounding Section 8 housing residences.
Until recently, GED students taking courses at Cambridge Park did not have access to the technology resources necessary for developing basic computer proficiency skills, conducting job searches, or fulfilling the new GED program requirements. However, a grant in the amount of $3,000 from the Douglas and Noreen Schumann Special Interest Fund at Main Street Community Foundation has funded the refurbishment of seven laptop computers, wireless mice, zip drives, and a printer.
Jessica Dunn, Resident Service Coordinator at Cambridge Park, said “Our goal is to expand the program by partnering with Tunxis Community College to offer workshops in resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, how to dress in professional attire, and other job placement skills.” Mitzy Rowe, Executive Director of BHA, explained that the Department of Labor requires residents who receive public housing assistance to actively search for employment. The GED program is an important resource to foster economic self sufficiency among BHA residents.