Veronica Ellerbee had been out of school since 1979 but wanted to earn her GED.
“I wanted to further my education and see what I missed out on,” she said. “I wanted to learn more and keep my mind alert.”
Ellerbee decided to earn her GED at the Marlboro County Adult Education (MCAE) Center.
Ellerbee is glad she made the decision to go there.
“It has been a long time (since she was in school),” she said. “I have forgotten a lot but I think I am doing good.” She was grateful for the help and support from staff at MCAE.
“They have been right there with me,” Ellerbee said. “They are helping me a lot, especially in math.”
She said she was getting ready to take one of her GED tests. “I think I will pass it,” she said.
This is something that Director Will Jorgensen likes to hear. He encourages people to come because staff can show them the various avenues available to assist them.
Currently, Adult Education is competing with area employers for people due to the employment opportunities. Jorgensen said they try to show prospective students that classes there are not a sprint but a marathon.
For instance, a person might be making $13-$15 at an area restaurant but Jorgensen does not want people to settle for this.
“Ultimately, the goal is for the rest of your life,” he said. “If you can come and get your GED or complete your high school diploma, your hourly wage could increase.”
Adult education is a gateway that could lead to a great job, being able to join the military or continuing education at Northeastern Technical College and other higher education opportunities.
“This is the vision for our students,” Jorgensen said. “We don’t want it too narrow and short. We want it to be a distance so they can see the future and what they can be.”
A crucial person in this program is Pamela Smith, the college and career navigator.
Smith enrolls students and conducts the exit conference. She will line up the jobs, and recruiters from the military and colleges.
Jorgensen said students are guided through the process from the moment they walk in the door until they walk across the stage and beyond.
“There are no excuses,” he said. “If you come to us, we will help you get where you want to go.”
The teaching staff at Adult Education are retired Marlboro County School District educators who have more than 30 years of experience.
“They have seen it and done it,” Jorgensen said. “They do a great job working with our young and older adults. They want to see people succeed.”
One objective for this year is to possibly add afternoon classes in basic computer skills and financial literacy.
“It is basic things that we take for granted that everybody knows but they don’t,” Jorgensen said.
He reminded those interested in Adult Education to remember that it is on their timeline.
“We are not on a schedule,” he said.
MCAE offers Adult Basic Skills, GED preparation, high school diploma, and Career Ready Certificate preparation classes from 8 a.m.-noon. Monday through Thursday. Programs are in-person and hybrid. For more information or to enroll, call Adult Education at 843-479-5923.