BCCC offers basic skills

Published 4:59 pm Saturday, March 10, 2012

Classes have started in a new program that college officials hope will be more successful in providing basic-skills students with the skills they need to enter the work force.

For the first time, beginning this month, some BCCC students enrolled in General Educational Development courses also will be enrolled in a certified nursing assistant I course at the college.

Once they receive their GEDs, these students will have specific job-related skills that will allow them to immediately enter the work force rather than having to wait for job-specific classes after they have completed their high school-equivalency work, according to Laurie Weston, BCCC’s basic skills coordinator.

The program, known as Basic Skills Plus, was recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly and the state Board of Community Colleges.

Since 2010, BCCC and some 34 other community colleges have been approved to offer Basic Skills Plus programs that prepare students in some 85 different career pathways.

“Frequently, the process of getting the GED, taking the placement exam for enrolling in curriculum or work training programs and enrolling in and achieving success in work-related or college level courses leaves students caught in a cycle of remediation that discourages and frustrates them to the point that they withdraw or fail their courses,” Weston said.

“A GED is not enough anymore,” Weston said. “This is an economy where employers and businesses are looking for trained and skilled workers.”

Basic Skills Plus at BCCC plans to provide that training, she said.

Students in the BCCC program will attend school two days a week, from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., working on their GED studies in the afternoon and CNA I classes that same night.

In future months, BCCC may consider expanding its Basic Skills Plus programs to include training in automotive technology, early childhood education certificate programs and welding.