Adult learners now have a new reason to be thankful with an opportunity to get on a fast track to workforce readiness with an innovative COM program.

Traditionally, individuals who are not college-ready may need to complete several foundational classes, spanning several semesters, before beginning to earn college credit. A different approach is now possible at COM through a $325,000 grant from Accelerate TEXAS Adult Basic Education. Individuals can simultaneously enroll in a course to gain workforce skills in either welding or medical coding and billing while taking a free class that focuses on the math and reading skills needed to succeed in that occupation.
“It’s a grant to jump-start adults’ education, to support them and then help them get to work,” said Josh Hayes, COM director of adult education and co-writer of the grant. “We’re focusing on shortening the process and helping students have an attainable goal.”
At least 60 percent of Texas jobs will require a certificate or college degree by 2020, but only 44 percent of Texans have ever attended college, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
This grant allows COM to assist individuals who have never attended college in gaining an education and marketable skills.

“It can change lives,” said Carla Boone, director of Continuing Education and co-writer of the grant.

To be eligible for the grant, COM demonstrated its efforts to target adult learners and help them move to high-skill, high-growth areas, such as welding and medical coding and billing.
“We’re hoping to expand the program to train students in other high-need workforce areas,” said Hayes.
Accelerate TEXAS programs are an initiative of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to integrate basic skills with career pathways to help adult students enter high-demand occupations.