Editorial: Adult education grows across state

County and state programs thriving and expanding
Jul. 21, 2014 @ 06:51 PM

Life is tough.

And it’s a lot tougher without an education.

The U.S. Census Bureau has found that people without a high school diploma can expect to earn 50 percent less than workers who finished the 12th grade — over $10,000 less per year.

That’s why adult education programs such as those offered by Sevier County Schools are so important.

According to  Curtis Clabo, who is principal of White’s Adult High School, the local program is also thriving.

“The Adult Education Program served 718 students during the school year just ended,” Clabo said in an email earlier this summer. “202 in its adult high school, 231 in its High School Equivalency program, and 285 in its adult English as a Second Language program. This has been a banner year, both in terms of enrollment and outcomes.”

Overall 182 students earned their diplomas, the second-highest number in the program’s 21 year history. The record, 197, happened just one year previously.

It’s a worthy effort to better the lives of Sevier Countians.

And now, there’s a new program being introduced by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which hopes to spread local initiatives even further.

The department has three “Career Coach” vehicles, and the mobile Career Centers have become certified testing sites for the new High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).

“Making the Career Coaches available as a testing site for HiSET is a tremendous help to organizations and people in areas of the state not located near a test site,” said Marva Doremus, administrator for adult education at the Tennessee Department of Labor. “The Career Coaches are certified testing sites, and each staff member is a certified proctor and examiner.”

Serving the state’s three grand divisions, the three Career Coach program vehicles expect to host 72 testing days statewide in the course of a year. Each coach can accommodate six test-takers, but if an organization such as a chamber, jail, or school has a facility that can become an extension of the Career Coach space, staff can test as many as 50, the department said.

For test fee information and instructions on how to book the Career Coach mobile units for HiSET services for your organization or community, visit www.getonthecoach.tn.gov and click the HiSET Instructions tab. To learn more about Sevier County’s adult education offerings, visit www.sevier.org or call the school system at 453-4671.