Wallace State awarded $2.1 million Title III grant

Wallace State (Photo from Facebook)   HANCEVILLE, Ala. — More than 30 graduates of the Wallace State Community College Adult Education program walked across the stage Thursday, June 3, to mark their success of receiving their GED. There were around 80 students who earned their GED or high school diploma through the Adult Education program at Wallace State during the 2020-2021 academic year.   While most commonly known for helping students obtain their GED, the Adult Education program also helps students earn their high school diploma and provides classes that offer credentials which can be used for employment.   “The Adult Education program is not only for those without their high school diploma, but also serves adults who need to improve their skills and abilities to be successful in the completion of their chosen program,” said Suzanne Harbin, vice president for advancement and innovation.   The GED is offered to students who dropped out of school before completing required credits needed to graduate. Classes are offered in person, online and at community sites. Vouchers are offered to students completing classes that will pay for the GED exam. Upon receiving their GED, the students receive a 3-credit-hour scholarship to Wallace State.   The high school diploma credential is for students who completed credits needed to graduate but did not pass the high school exit exam. The Adult Education program helps them prepare for and administers the necessary assessments to receive their high school diploma.   The Adult Education program also offers classes that let students earn credentials they can use in the workforce. The program is currently partnering with the Medical Laboratory Technician program to offer the Medical Lab Assistant certificate in two semesters. Medical lab assistants often work in doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities and are responsible for completing waived testing. Waived testing includes pregnancy tests and tests for flu, strep, etc.   The Adult Education program also offers classes in Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, Phlebotomy, OSHA, WorkKeys Certification, Ready to Work and more. Plans are in the works to offer classes for Certified Nursing Assistant.   Skylar Bolton earned her GED and CNA certification last year after years of starting and stopping her efforts. “I’m so thankful for the Wallace State Adult Education program,” she said at the time. “They’ve encouraged me every step of the way, even when I wasn’t receptive. The teachers and staff are top-notch, and they do all they can to help you succeed.”    Adult Education’s efforts to assist students like Bolton fall in line with Gov. Kay Ivey’s Success Plus Initiative. The Success Plus Initiative addresses Alabama’s increasing need for workers with certificates, credentials or degrees in addition to a high school diploma. By 2025, Alabama will need to add 500,000 high-skilled employees to the workforce in order to fill existing industry’s labor needs and compete for new businesses, according to a report produced by the Alabama Workforce Council’s Statewide Educational Attainment Committee.   For more information about Wallace State’s Adult Education program visit www.wallacestate.edu/adulted, call 256-352-8078 or email adulteducation@wallacestate.edu.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College was awarded a five-year $2.1 million Title III grant by the U.S. Department of Education that will enhance student success through Pathways Linking U to Success (PLUS).

Project PLUS is geared to helping students complete a certificate or degree. 

“We know that students benefit from earning a postsecondary degree or credential through improved employment opportunities and increased lifetime earnings potential, and the effect is generational. Families and communities, our state and nation also benefit,” said Dr. Vicki Karolewics, president of Wallace State. “Wallace State has long been committed to student success. Our student success rates are among the highest in the country and have resulted in our being named a three-time Aspen Prize semi-finalist, and an Achieving the Dream Leader College, but there is so much more we can do to ensure every student has the resources and support they need to make success possible. This grant, which we are so honored to receive, will truly help us move the needle.”

More than half of the college’s first-time freshmen are academically underprepared, economically disadvantaged and/or first-generation college students.  Institutional and published data suggests that these students are most likely to drop-out, stop-out or fail, resulting in low retention, graduation, transfer and employment rates.

Project PLUS is an integration of interventions from What Works Clearing House’s InsideTrack Coaching and Single Stop USA’s Community College Initiative, Achieving the Dream’s Holistic Student Supports and Complete College America’s Pathways to Success. 

It includes shifting the frontline success advising and financial aid staff from a transactional relationship with students to that of a case management approach. Success Advising expands to include the intervention elements recommended in What Works Clearing Houses’ InsideTrack Coaching model throughout the student lifecycle. It implements Achieving the Dream’s Holistic Student Supports Redesign and revises student onboarding to include success predictors. The project also updates both adjunct and full-time faculty professional development to better support student success.

Project PLUS’s success will be determined by steady improvements in each of the following student success milestones: fall-to-fall retention, successful completion of 30 or more semester credit hours and degree/certificate completion within the time frame allowed for federal financial aid, known as the 150 percent rule.

This work complements recent initiatives related to student success, including the college’s designation as a Caring Campus, success advising through the Center for Student Success and the addition of work-based learning opportunities across the curriculum.

Students interested in starting college this fall still have time to enroll at Wallace State.  A second 8-week mini-term begins Oct. 14.

Learn more at https://www.wallacestate.edu/