GTCC program offers job skills training

·3 min read

Jun. 29—HIGH POINT — Now that more COVID-19 vaccinations are available and pandemic-related restrictions have eased, Guilford Technical Community College is relaunching a program for adult students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Applications are due by July 9 to participate in the next Providing Opportunities for Workforce Education Review (POWER) Pathways program, said Claire Ricci, GTCC dean of adult education.

Students enrolled in the 13-week program will take a cooking and food safety class, a job readiness class, and a class that focuses on reading, math and computer skills. It involves classes Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

One of GTCC's goals for the POWER Pathways program is to have students pass the ServSafe food handlers exam, which is a credential many employers within the food services industry require, Ricci said.

"This class would make students more employable," Ricci said. "We know right now there are a good many jobs in the food service industry, and many times they require a ServSafe credential."

There is a $133 registration fee for the food service program. A limited number of scholarships are available for those who demonstrate financial need.

"I've seen it help build confidence in students as they're learning these life skills," Ricci said. "This program involves a lot of intense hands-on instruction. Sometimes we see that really helps students increase their learning, even their reading and math skills, because the topic is fun. They're reading a recipe and making it so they're doing the math and reading that's hands-on. We see some really good results and learning gains from that."

The program normally draws 10 to 15 students per class each semester, but GTCC was not able to offer it last year. Social distancing would have been difficult inside the GTCC teaching kitchens, Ricci said.

"At this point, GTCC is following the governor's requirements, which are that if students are fully vaccinated, distancing is not required," Ricci said. "We're able to have more flexibility with our space."

Depending on the number of student applications received, GTCC may be able to offer the POWER Pathways program on its campuses in High Point and Greensboro.

"We have the space and the kitchen equipment on both the High Point and Greensboro campuses, and we have run it in both locations in the past," Ricci said. "We would love to have the interest to run it in both locations this fall."

The GTCC High Point campus at 901 S. Main St. is on the bus line. Bus passes are available for students who need them.

"We want to try to remove any barrier that might keep some of them from attending," Ricci said. "There are limited college opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, so we're happy to be able to offer this specific job training program. We know that many of these adults can be excellent employees, have excellent attendance, excellent attitudes and they can learn these skills. We're hoping people will take advantage of the opportunity and come participate."

cingram@hpenews.com — 336-888-3534 — @HPEcinde

cingram@hpenews.com — 336-888-3534 — @HPEcinde

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