Bluefield State Offers Free Computer and Life Skills Classes
When Bluefield State College recently offered its “Emerging Scholars Adult Program,” organizers had hoped for 150 students. They got 344, and another 40 are on the waiting list. West Virginia has recently begun giving grants to colleges to offer classes to adults for free.
Bluefield State got $100,000 to offer classes in computers and “life management skills,” which is an intro-to-college course that teaches good study skills. Bluefield is a historically Black institution that in recent decades became a majority White school.
John Cardwell, director of enrollment at Bluefield State, plans to use e-textbooks instead of printed ones to save money, then use that money to pay for more classes to squeeze in the almost 400 students.
Some of the adult students hope computer literacy will help them land jobs. Others already work, but they want to improve their skills so they can do a better job.
The students will earn three credit hours for each class. Eventually, the instructors will test the students’ math, writing and reading skills to figure out if they need developmental courses, or if they can go straight to English 101.
“Our goal is to get 60 percent to 70 percent of these people to continue in higher education,” Cardwell says.
“Some of them might have come in just to see if they could do it, but we hope our instructors’ encouragement and delivery will tease their students to want more,” he says.
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