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Program offers test prep, job skills training for Ohio adults

March 29, 2018 GMT

IRONTON — Adults in Lawrence County might think the only educational help available to them is GED courses. But through the county’s ever-evolving Aspire program, residents can not only earn their GEDs, but also explore career options, learn job and organizational skills, prepare for post-secondary entrance exams, and so much more.

In the spring of 2017, Ohio’s Adult Basic and Literacy Education program, known as ABLE, was re-branded as Aspire to reflect the growing base of services offered through the program according to a news release from Michael Leighann Gleichauf, public relations coordinator for the Collins Career and Technical Center.

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“ABLE had developed a narrow viewed reputation as a provider of education based services, sometimes mistakenly though of primarily for assistance in secondary credentialing,” Gleichauf said in the release. “The Aspire title is in effort to expand that umbrella to incorporate all the facets of the adult education program that all have the guiding tag line for students to ‘Learn More. Earn More.’”

Gleichauf said Lawrence County’s Aspire program has worked to stay out ahead of that trend, offering not only GED help, but also classes and instruction designed for adults from different backgrounds and with different goals.

“Last year, Lawrence County’s program was the third-highest ranked among all programs in the state with one of the lowest cost-per-student allowances in the state,” Gleichauf said. “The program served 379 students with a 92 percent student retention rate, and 85 percent of the students showed measurable skills gains. In addition, High School Equivalency and Post-Secondary Entrance rates were among the highest in Ohio.”

Lawrence County Aspire offers preparation courses and individual instruction for High School Equivalency credentialing and post secondary entrance exams. In addition to the test-prep offerings, the program is available for adults to explore post-secondary options through career interest and exploration, post-secondary preparation both academically and soft-skills (time management, organization, technology, etc.), literacy instruction for adults with reading difficulties, general educational skills instruction and more, Gleichauf said.

“Our program is the catch all,” she said. “It is designed to be re-designed. Our goal is to help students identify what their goals are and together work towards developing a program to assist them on that path. Sometimes people just want to do more but don’t always know what ‘more’ is or how to get there, what tools and skills they might need, or where to even begin.

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“Most often, in our area, people are looking to obtain or improve employment status. What we aim to do is fill in all those gaps between where they are and where they want to be; that job or career that can help change their situation. Some students enter our program with a singular goal of obtaining some credential and we can look at how best to prepare them for that test based on their educational experience and functioning level. Some people want to go back to school but don’t know what they want to do or what programs or schooling options are available. We sit down with those individuals and look at, in a realistic way, what their choices are.”

Gleichauf said Aspire can help with financial assistance, preparation for entrance or placement exams, job and career skills, reading and writing and more.

“The idea is to help remove the barriers. Whatever that immediate or long-term goal is, we want to find a way to assist students in getting past the road blocks to reaching it,” Gleichauf said.

Lawrence County Aspire offers classes Monday through Thursday at two locations: in the Ohio Means Jobs building at 120 N 3rd Street in Ironton,, 740-532-3140, ext. 7; and in the new Adult Education building at Collins Career Technical Center, 11627 State Route 243 in Chesapeake, 740-867-6641, ext. 449.

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