In the past 30 years, the Winchester Adult Education Center gave hundreds of local adults a second chance to finish their high school education by getting their GEDs.
But the graduates who receive their certificates June 23 during the center’s commencement exercise at the Leeds Theater will be the final students to come through the program after officials were notified this week that its contract was not renewed.
After June 23, Bluegrass Community and Technical College will be the new provider of adult education services to Clark County.
Contracts for the services are awarded by the Kentucky Adult Education arm of the Council on Postsecondary Education. Under the Workforce Investment Act, the department is required to have competitive grants in which multiple entities can bid on the services. This was the first time in several years that anyone besides Winchester Adult Education submitted a bid for the contract, according to Reece Stagnolia, vice-president of KAE.
Adult Education Director Faye Wiseman said she knew that BCTC had bid on the contract and she had discussions with BCTC officials during the process, so the news wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I have had discussions with the BCTC folks, so I tried to keep our staff informed along the way to let them know that we had a competitor and that we might not get the contract,” Wiseman said. “I didn’t want to keep anything from them. This is their livelihood, so I was up front with them about the possibility. We had a meeting on Monday and I told them we didn’t get the contract.”
BCTC provides adult education services in Boyle and Fayette counties, and President Augusta Julian said she felt like that experience will be beneficial for the institution as it finalizes plans for its Clark County program.
“We have a very strong program and a very strong record in Boyle and Fayette counties and this seems like an opportunity for us to serve the Clark County area and add to our already committed presence there,” she said. “It seems like a good fit as we continue to reach out and try to serve the region better.”
Both Wiseman and Julian said the transition from the current program to the new one would be smooth.
“I think it will be a smooth transition. We reached out to the people in the current program when we first started looking at this and we’ve worked well with the program in the past,” Julian said. “We expect to continue to work together with those folks in the community who have been so committed to this effort in the past.”
Julian said she is excited about having a program in Clark County because adult education has been one of her passions for years.
“My background is in adult education, so I have a real soft spot in my heart for students who are trying to get their lives back on track after not being able to get a high school diploma at an earlier point in their lives,” Julian said. “You always want your students who improved their basic skills and got their GEDs to see themselves moving on into other types of programs. I think the college provides an easier pathway into higher education and the college environment really has some value to the students who are looking to better themselves and looking for additional opportunities."
BCTC will announce details about its program once everything is finalized, Julian said.
In the meantime, Wiseman said, the staff at the adult education center will continue to lead their students through the final days as they prepare for one last graduation ceremony June 23.
“We still have some work to do, so we’ll be busy getting all our students through these last few days, then we are going to go out with a big part down at the Leeds,” Wiseman said. “After that, we’ll wait and see what BCTC’s plans are and go from there.”
Contact Bob Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.