Paving the way to employment through education

The financial support over the last several years from the Community Fund at United Way of Alamance County (UWAC) has allowed Alamance Community College (ACC) to increase student enrollment and success, resulting in an increase in the number of Alamance County residents with a High School Equivalency diploma. The attainment of a High School Equivalency diploma paves the way for better employment and educational prospects for adults and their families.

During the 2017-18 cycle, 879 people were served by grant funds, including students who received transportation assistance, High School Equivalency test fee vouchers, and other financial assistance, as well as 400 who benefited from attending the Community Resource Fair held each year at the Dillingham campus. Not included in the 879 students is the fact that an Adult Literacy Resource Specialist served 1,211 potential students (50% increase) through referrals through the Salvation Army, Burlington Housing Authority, the Burlington Goodwill Resource Center, the Alamance County Public Library branches, and various community outreach efforts throughout Alamance County. Grant funding allowed twelve instructors to attend the Appalachian State University Adult Basic Skills Professional Development Summer Institute to learn best practices in the field of adult education.

ACC projected to serve 135 graduates and had 174 graduates, a 29% increase.

“This year federal funds for Community Colleges have gone through a competitive process in order to be awarded. Factors are based mostly on performance measures. This year five community colleges were not awarded federal funds. Alamance Community College did receive federal funding,” explained Jennifer Mock, Director of Academic and Career Readiness.  Leaders at ACC believe that retention and completion rates are up due to having a grant from UWAC. This is significant factor to getting students post tested and have a measurable skills gain.

The data collected through those that receive vouchers and distress funds as well as those connected through outreach events, have helped ACC understand and address the needs. By offering vouchers for official tests, more students complete, at a time where other community college and literacy providers are seeing a decrease. ACC has also seen an increase in students transitioning to the institution in certificate and college programs.

In the Spring ACC had several graduates from one particular high school equivalency class complete and meet the graduation deadline to walk in the commencement ceremony, several students transitioned to the college: Andrew, entered Automotive Technology; Luther, entered Criminal Justice; Heather, entered Animal Care; and Oliver entered, HVAC.

Additionally, a graduation ceremony was held in the Alamance County Detention Center for two graduates. ACC is one of the only programs in the state offering both instruction and testing in local jails. United Way grant funds provided the opportunity for testing vouchers in the detention center. This is an another example of collaboration between ACC, the Alamance County Detention Center, Sustainable Alamance, and UWAC.  ACC has strong partnerships with key agencies such as: Alamance County Public Library, Allied Churches, Salvation Army, and Woman’s Resource Center. These relationships are built on shared goals (between providers) where trust is formed, and information is regularly shared. As a result, a new group was spearheaded called ALL, Alamance Links to Literacy, which is under the education umbrella of UWAC’s Community Council.

“Everyone continues to be touched by the personal stories of students who have the burden of transportation fees, book fees, and testing fees – like Daniel’s below. Once students receive assistance they have been able to continue, complete, and become employed,” stated April Durr, Director of Community Impact, UWAC. ACC has repeatedly been asked to share success stories from UWAC grant funds across the state at conferences and workshops.

To join us in this important work, please support our Community Fund with a donation!