I was privileged to attend the beginning of a new era at the College recently. I was among about 50 students, educators and community leaders, including U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, for the announcement that Pima Community College Adult Education has become Adult Basic Education for College and Career (ABECC).
As Dean of Adult Education Regina Suitt said during the announcement ceremony, Adult Education’s focus on student success remains unchanged. Pima’s Adult Basic Education division will continue to be the county’s No. 1 provider of Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation, GED testing, instruction for adults learning English and job skills training. The new name reflects the opportunities for adult learners to use an HSE as a launchpad to transition to vocational training or further academic achievement. With 88,000 adults in Pima County lacking an HSE, the need is great.
Regina highlighted the story of Linda Langston, who is benefiting from the College’s development of diverse academic pathways that extend beyond an HSE. Linda has completed our Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST) and received a Behavioral Health Services certificate. IBEST is a nationally recognized instructional model that boosts students’ basic skills while they attend an occupational program. In the BHS/IBEST program, basic reading, writing, and math skills are contextualized into the BHS course content, with ABE and BHS instructors co-teaching the program.
Linda earned a 4.0 GPA in her program and recently won an Arizona Association for Life Long Learning, Adult Literacy Week contest. “Pima removed so many roadblocks for me,” she said, adding that she intends to pursue employment in social work.
Student Dominique Lewis and May 2015 graduate Israel Gonzalez Jr. echoed Linda’s story of transformation through education. Rep. Grijalva put ABECC’s intensified focus into eloquent perspective. As our economy responds to the employment demands of a new age, integrated education programs become essential for our students, he said.
Regina and her team of staff and instructors within Adult Basic Education for College & Career are meeting the demands of the 21st century workplace. I thank them for their work to serve our students and community.