By Edgar Johnson
How often have you paused and reflected on that which many have taken for granted—the fact that you have job skills, a job and proud to be contributing to your family and community.
But do you know that there are many people around us who are not so fortunate? There are legal immigrants who speak other languages, no English; and there are English speakers who cannot read, write, spell, or speak Standard English. Some may have dropped out of school for varied reasons; some may not have earned their GED or completed high school; but whatever the situation, there is a new opportunity in the community, a second chance opportunity to help you catch up with that which was missed.
There is a special Hartford Adult Education Enhancement Program that meets adult learners where they are. It does not matter the level you may have reached in school, adult learners receive training following a structured curriculum and daily instructional plans: In the morning, most students receive instruction in literacy and numeracy and in the evenings, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, they receive instructions in the trades that can lead to a career in any of the three areas: plumbing, electricity, and carpentry.
For the evening classes, there are 30 adult learners, and they are placed in groups of 10. The three areas are: electricity, carpentry, and plumbing. “All courses are free of charge. The program is a great exposure and enables the learners to grow. It provides a great opportunity for adults to get started again,” said Dr. Zandralyn Gordon, director at the Hartford Adult Education Center,
The program creates a pathway for the students to grow and welcomes both males and females. It is a great opportunity for anyone wishing to grow in the three trades. Besides going on field trips to the various industries, students go through internships as they pursue their licenses and connect with people in the trades.
“I like how the students are enthusiastic and appreciative,” said Charles Rolle who teaches carpentry.
“I like electrical as a career. My hope is to master the skill and get a job,” said Remia Claude who is also keeping up with her morning classes.
Anthony Mazzone, who teaches electricity, said that after years of teaching, he sees his time teaching adult learners as a time to give back. “I am opening the door for my students to something they like. If we open their eyes, one never knows what can happen,” he said.
Mazzone shares one of his successful stories: a young man who appeared to have no directive for his future. He opened the student’s eyes and what a transformation took place in the student’s life! He went onto Manchester Community College and did well and there is no end to his success,
Katia Pacheco entered her classroom, appeared to be running out of breath. “I was running to class. I did not want to be late for my class; I did not want to miss anything,” she said.
Pacheco, who was in the first cohort class said she is learning very fast. “I am not giving up; I want my license,” she said.
Alaster Williams said that the program is interesting and informative, and that he has learned a lot. He took last year’s class but had missed some classes because of snow days.
“I have been learning a lot. After I finished, I went home and upgraded all the plugs and switches in my house. I changed a light that was not working for over one year. Yes, the program here is excellent,” Williams said.
According to Leroy Smith, this Enhancement Program with hands-on instructions in carpentry, plumbing, and electricity is a great opportunity.
“ Every day people need plumbing, electricity, and more. I plan to get as much as I can,” said Smith.
The consensus among the students is one of contentment and willingness to work hard and not allow the opportunity to slip through their hands. Some are ready to work hard. They are overwhelmed by the exposure and understanding of the different hands-on trades and at the same time, to sharpen their skills in the academics—reading, writing, speaking Standard English, and the prospect of earning their high school diploma.