The Adult Education and Transition Programs (AETP) division at Kishwaukee College is raising awareness of the continued need for adult education in the local communities by recognizing National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 22 – 29.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 1.4 million adults in Illinois (15% of the adult population 18 or older) do not have a high school diploma or a GED; about one out of every seven Illinoisans is an immigrant; and approximately 44% of Illinois’ eight million adults (over age 18) have not completed any college coursework.
As sobering as those statistics are, the broader implications are even greater. Over the past several years, more and more jobs in the workplace require skilled labor and a post-high school “credential” – a certificate, degree or some other form of specialized training. According to the Skills2Compete Campaign, the largest segment of available jobs in Illinois are “middle-skill” jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree of educational preparation. Additionally, these middle skill jobs are also the type of positions that are more likely to pay a sustainable wage.
An excellent example of the change that can occur when someone who left high school prior to graduation decides to pursue a GED and continue an education can be found in the administrative offices of Kishwaukee College. Dr. Mark Lanting, the Vice President of Instruction at the College, left high school after four years without graduating because he was a few credits shy of meeting the requirements – an all too common reason for dropping out.
“I entered the workforce without a high school diploma. My first full-time job was in a chemical factory in the southwest suburbs of Chicago,” he said. “After spending a couple of years in a less-than-safe, less-than-fulfilling environment, I started thinking about going back to school. I looked into what I needed to do to get a GED.”
After completing his GED, Lanting was unsure of his next step. He knew he loved reading and writing. “Like a lightning bolt, I was certain that I wanted to pursue a career doing something I loved. I knew that I wanted to get a degree in English, that I wanted to teach, and that I wanted to begin right away,” he said. “The next week, I made an appointment with a counselor at South Suburban College who helped me enroll.” He completed his Associates in Arts degree and continued on to a university to complete a B.A. and M.A. in English, launching a career in education. He later returned to school once again to pursue and attain his Doctorate degree in Education from Olivet Nazarene University.
Dr. Lanting stated, “The road has been long and challenging from dropping out of high school, to getting my GED, all the way to getting my Ed.D. However, I am convinced that with determination, motivation, and vision, anyone can transcend difficulties and challenges in order to reach whatever goals one sets.”
During National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, the Adult Education and Transition Programs division at Kishwaukee College invites anyone wanting to take the first step to earning a GED to contact their offices to receive the support and guidance to change their lives through education and training.
The AETP division offers free programming in adult education for residents of the district. GED/High School Equivalency preparation classes in Sycamore, DeKalb, and Rochelle and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in DeKalb and Rochelle as well as at Kishwaukee College, will be holding open enrollment the week of October 6 – 10 either at class sites or at the AETP office at Kishwaukee College. For a complete list of class sites and times, visit www.kishwaukeecollege.edu or call 815-825-2086, ext. 3111.