Temple University doesn’t just offer classes for fresh-faced high school grads looking to get that piece of paper to land them a career.
The University’s Center for Social Policy and Community Development offers a program to help unemployed people in the campus’ surrounding communities learn the skills they need to find jobs.
Workforce, Education and Lifelong Learning (WELL) is an educational program with the primary objective of providing the underprivileged with the necessary skills needed for employment.
“Our major goal is to be an alternative source of academics for learners who have both completed and need to complete high school,” said Ulicia Lawrence, the Program Assistant Coordinator for WELL.
“Not only do we want to be able to help them with their basic academic skills but we need to help them with their critical thinking skills and their life skills that will lead them into careers, and we address those that are experiencing all kinds of academic challenges.”
Lawrence said they would not be able to achieve their goals without their “solid collaboration” with Temple because WELL needs Temple’s services to offer the most to its students.
WELL has an eight-week class cycle, during which adult basic education and intensive GED preparation are provided in classes, small groups and through individual tutoring. There is also a curriculum that focuses on computer literacy.
The classes are offered free of charge. Students can register anytime for the program, but they can only officially begin classes during weeks one, two, five and six.
WELL attributes its success to its system of overseeing both the students’ needs and their progress.
“I believe that our success is based on the system,” said Brian Jones, a teacher in the WELL program.
“From assessment, instruction, to counseling, any new tutor or instructor can be trained on it easily, and that makes it easier for our students because if they miss a particular tutor, they will still get the service that they need from other tutors or instructors.”
Lawrence said that because of WELL, students who have been taking classes for the past two years are now passing the GED test, dealing with their learning differences and passing the standardized test that will give them a jump start to their employment career.
WELL’s marketing strategy has its roots in the standards they have developed.
“We do very little recruitment,” said Lawrence. “Organizations that have placed students in the program are now coming back and placing record numbers of students in the program.”
Lawrence said that, because of the program’s high standards and increased enrollment, its only real marketing strategy is to maintain its established standards.
The only drawback to WELL is its shortage of resources, including a lack of education tutors.
“We are on a university campus, and we need different departments that have levels of expertise on different areas that will help us zero in on things we can do to help out learners,” said Lawrence.
“We need social work interns to help us with case management of our students so we can be able to meet their needs, and we need special education majors who can recognize a way to help a student turn a skill around to make him or her a better learner.”
This fall, WELL will participate in the brand new Adult Diploma Program (ADP), an alternative program that helps high-school drop outs obtain their diplomas. WELL is located in room 201 of Mitten Hall.
Jonathan Vann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.