HRDC offering educational opportunities

HiSet, career education, college placement and more
By: 
MIRIAM CAMPAN
Reporter
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Paula Walker, HRDC adult education lead instructor, sits in her office Thursday. Part of Walker’s job is to ease the anxiety of tests and schedules for those returning to education. 

Photo by Miriam Campan

HRDC’s Adult Education program offers a second chance towards a brighter future. The only requirement is to show up and be ready to learn.  

At no cost, adults age 16 and older can enroll to update basic academic skills (reading, writing and math for employment and college placement purposes), prepare for HiSet (a state-issued high school equivalency credential) or the naturalization test, undergo screening for learning differences or determine a career path. 

Paula Walker, HRDC adult education lead instructor said, “We reopened adult learning on Oct. 1, and we now serve six counties.”

To assist individuals in attaining their academic objectives, Walker said SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals are determined, based on a student’s strengths and challenges. 

 “We start with the Test of Adult Basic Education,” she explained. “This allows us to see where the student is and where they need to be. We build a study plan off of those assessments and look for both strengths and challenges. TABE also determines employable deficits, such as soft skills, that may include business etiquette and proper business attire. We are here to assist.” 

She added, “We can also screen for learning differences [for example, dyslexia] and help with that.”

Career education is another important service provided to guide students towards a rewarding occupation best suited to their strengths.

“We have students do a profile on the Montana Career Information System. It’s a career exploration tool where students get to see areas where they have an interest and if that career would be good choice. It considers demographics and really provides good feedback on student’s interest level and ability,” said Walker.

Another benefit of HRDC Adult Education program is creating an online account. 

Walker said, “Students create an account that allows them to save their progress and allows them to create a resume. That account goes with them and students can scan in documents [such as certificates] and build an online career file.”

Walker also understands the challenges faced by adults returning to education.

“We see people come in and something disrupts their schedule. Students are juggling real life at this point, and some don’t have the luxury of being a student all week. We can help with time management. We work with them on building a calendar, so they can fit all of this into their schedule and not be overwhelmed,” said Walker.

She added, “A student can’t learn if they are thinking ‘how can we survive today?’ One of the really great things about our Lewistown office is we are located within HRDC. Assistance can sometimes be a short walk down the hall. We can help mitigate those barriers with finding rental property or energy assistance. It’s a win-win.”

There is only one catch to that second chance.

“HRDC always requires participation. It’s not a handout. Students are asked to show up ready to learn, demonstrate independent study skills, commit to goals and attend regularly,” said Walker.

Although days and hours vary dependent on location Walker wants students to know, “We’ve had great results. It’s about second chances with lots of one-on-one. We are very respectful and want people to know this is a safe environment.”

HRDC is located at 300 1st Avenue North Suite 203. The telephone number is 406-535-7488. 

 

Adult Learning Center Days and Hours

Lewistown from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays (evening appointments are available)

Roundup on Tuesdays at the Musselshell Council on Aging (Central School)

Harlowton, Winnett, Ryegate, Stanford and Winifred are by appointment on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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