Adult college students outperforming across the state

A unique population of adult college students are outperforming their traditional peers at technical and community college across the state, thanks to a new pilot program implemented in the fall of 2018.

The privately funded program, which goes by different names across campuses, seeks to provide greater access to higher education to the 1.1 million working-age adults in Louisiana who possess a high school diploma or less.

“Most policy focuses on how we move more 18 year olds into college. Unfortunately, the skills gap requires we do a better job at reaching back and grabbing adults,” Monty Sullivan, Louisiana Community Technical College System president, said. The program has the same basic requirements of the TOPS Technical Award, but is available to adults, many of whom are working multiple jobs and have family responsibilities.

House Resolution 12, sponsored by Senator Blade Morrish of district 25, authorized the LCTCS to begin the program last year. Morrish said, “It’s just a litany of things that cause them to not be able to get back into the workforce. This gives them the ability to get through those life issues, get back into higher education and enter the workforce.”

When given the funding and tools for higher education attainment, Sullivan said, adult students use their home life as a springboard for success. “These students can learn because they are motivated because of life’s circumstance.”

The average GPA of the 112 pilot students statewide was higher than their traditional peers at 2.81, Sullivan said. Sowela Technical Community College’s “Ready, Tech Go!” students exceeded even that at 3.28.

Pilot students are also returning to campuses between fall and spring at 15 percent higher rate than their peers at 75 percent. Sowela’s retention rate was 94 percent.

Neil Aspinwall, Sowela Chancellor, said the college’s “personalized service” thought its one-stop student services greatly aids in adult students’ success. “We don’t release them. They’ve already been out of school a long time. If you send them away or you put any obstacles in the way, it may not happen.”

Sowela is a key play in the local economy, Aspinwall said. “Just because the jobs are there, they’re not easy to get unless you have some sort of specialized training,” The Sowela Foundation has privately raised $84,000 to equip Southwest Louisiana’s adult learners.

Adult learners are also a part of a national discussion with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Sullivan said. As the pilot program continues in the upcoming school year, Sullivan and Morrish said, Louisiana can be a leader on an even larger scale.

“We see this as an opportunity to meet local workforce demands, state level funding, and once we’ve proven the point, inform the national conversation,” Sullivan said.

For more information on “Ready, Tech, Go!” visit www.sowela.edu. For information on the Sowela Foundation contact Nuria Reyes-Arias, executive director of institutional advancement, at 421-6903.

The average GPA of the 112 adult students in a pilot program statewide was higher than their traditional peers.

””LEARNERS

Local News

Jeff Davis School Board approves one-time pay supplement

Crime

15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes

Crime

Kinder man convicted in double homicide

Crime

10/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

More than 500 vehicles expected at Last Resort car show

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

It’s Spooktacular: Coats for Kids kickoff Oct. 29

Crime

DeRidder man convicted of kidnapping will be resentenced on drug charges

high-school Football

Dragons return home to face Bolton

Local News

Happy Halloween: Your thrill guide to fall fests and all kinds of frightening fun

Local News

Katie Daniel: Favorite thing about teaching art is seeing imaginations on display

Local News

Parents given quarantine option in Jeff Davis

Local News

Calcasieu wants nearly $4 billion more in relief funds

Local News

Photo Gallery: McNeese Homecoming Parade

Business News

AT&T expanding footprint in Lake Charles

Business News

Metalplate Galvanizing asks Jeff Davis School Board for tax exemption

Local News

Monoclonal antibody community-based treatment sites open

Crime

Driver in Moss Bluff hit-and-run sought

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Some past history helps

Local News

Doctor: COVID cases improving, but region still at risk

Local News

Mayor: Laura left behind 300-400 condemned commercial buildings

Local News

Remaining animals will not be euthanized while shelter temporarily closed

Crime

Leesville man will be resentenced in robbery

Crime

Elton man accused of arson attempt