Skilled to Work: Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners

The director of the GOAL program said the program caters to any adult looking to learn, get their GED or just further their education.

Posted: Oct 14, 2021 5:22 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2021 11:11 AM

Drake State and Calhoun community colleges are partnering on "GOAL," or Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners. 

The program is designed to help just about any adult who is looking to further their education or get their GED. 

Students may not look like your typical college student, but their desire to learn is clear. 

"I enjoy every day that I get to spend here," said Mayra Benuela, a student in GOAL.

Benuela is originally from Venezuela, but love brought her to the United States. She studied here and learned English as a second language, one of the class options available through GOAL.

The program also helps students prepare for the workforce.

"We have a pre-apprenticeship program that gives them six different pathways that they might be able to step out into the workforce utilizing," said Mindi Russell, the program director. 

On Thursday, WAAY 31 got a glimpse of the Ready to Work class. In the class, students learn communication skills that will help them with their dream job interview. 

"It makes them a more viable candidate for the industry they're interested in," Russell said. 

The Ready to Work class is Benuela's next step after completing her ESL course. She said she wants to be able "to look at the person, communicate directly."

Meanwhile, another student, Phil Batchelor, has different reasons for being in the program.

"I wanted to come back and update my skills," said Batchelor. "I took the MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council), the Ready to Work and digital literacy."

Batchelor said he received a college degree years ago but wanted to brush up on his knowledge after manufacturing hubs made Huntsville home. 

"I really wanted to work where they made the cars, because when I was growing up, it was mainly up north," said Batchelor. 

Batchelor and Benuela are different adults with different aspirations, but they're both leaving the GOAL program as employable candidates. 

"Their next step is to get out into the workforce or connect within a pathway, then we take them down the road that they're most interested in," said Russell. 

Coordinators through Drake State and Calhoun will work hand in hand with adults to pinpoint classes students should take. The program is free, and Russell said they're looking for more adults to join. 

For more information, click here.

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