Victoria College celebrates adult education with open house
Picture of Marvin Cooper
Marvin Cooper

Victoria College is participating in Accelerate TEXAS Week Nov. 11-15 by hosting a “Ship Party” open house from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The open house will be held in the Continuing Education Center, Room 102, and is free and open to the public. Attendees can see an information session on VC’s Students Accelerating through Integrated Learning (SAIL) training, meet current SAIL students and view a career pathways video. Refreshments will be served at the open house.

Victoria College’s SAIL training is funded in part by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Accelerate Texas Initiative.

Accelerate TEXAS week celebrates an initiative that helps thousands of Adult Basic Education students accelerate through ABE directly into a college program and on to earn credentials with immediate labor market value, according to Sherri Pall, director of Workforce and Continuing Education at Victoria College.

At least 60 percent of Texas jobs will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020, according Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. And 44 percent of Texans over age 25 have never been to college, let alone earned a credential.

That’s why 21 community colleges across Texas participate in Accelerate TEXAS to help more lower-skilled adults into the programs that will advance their careers and strengthen the state’s entire workforce.

Accelerate TEXAS programs offered at Victoria College through SAIL are Certified Nurse Aide, truck driving, and welding.

Marvin Cooper, 21, is one of a number of students enrolled in SAIL training and learning to become a truck driver.
“I’d recommend this to anyone,” Cooper said while on a break from the truck driving range at the Victoria Regional Airport.

“If you have a pulse, a heartbeat and a passion to drive a truck, come on and do it. If you have the determination and the ability to hold a lot within a short period of time, you’re golden. You can do it.”

Cooper discovered SAIL when his sister was helping him return to school. While visiting VC’s Adult Education Center to get his GED, he saw a flyer for SAIL training and asked about it.

“We got some more information and, when I saw truck driving, I snapped that up,” Cooper said.

The student takes his GED courses from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and learns parallel parking, straight backing, and horseshoe and city turns in the truck driving course during the day.

“In the GED classes, the instructors help with studying, reading and writing and everything else,” Cooper said. “The support from the staff and instructors is phenomenal. They help you out whenever you need it.”

Lacey Bowman, 29, another SAIL training student, received her GED in August and is now attending welding classes taught at Victoria College’s Liberty Street Industrial Training Center.

“It was time for me to do it,” Bowman said of her decision to earn a GED. “I couldn’t get a job. No one wanted to hire me because I didn’t have a GED, so I decided I needed to do something about that.”
She earned her GED at VC’s Adult Education Center and selected welding training because “I’ve always wanted to do the tomboy stuff, and its good money.”

Once she receives her welding certificate, Bowman plans to continue her education and earn an associate degree in welding, then work for at least five years as a welder. Her next step is to become a welding inspector, then own her own business.

She takes credit classes during the day and attends welding classes from 6-9 p.m. Bowman enjoys the nightly training and looks upon her fellow welding students as family.

If it wasn’t for SAIL, I wouldn’t have gone to welding classes,” she said. “I would have gotten my GED, called it good and gotten a job as a cashier. SAIL put those options out there for me and said ‘we will pay for one of these three things, you pick which one you want.’”

Michelle Rodriguez, 21, is also taking advantage of the SAIL training and is enrolled in the CNA Program.

“It’s been an excellent choice that I have made,” she said. “I was getting my GED at the Adult Education Center. . They told us about the SAIL training, and I decided to join it.”

Through the SAIL training, Rodriguez has two goals: to improve her life and serve as a role model for her children.
“I want my kids to finish school,” she said.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she is at the Adult Education Center from 8:45-11:45 a.m. and then attends nurse aide training at VC from 5-9 p.m.

She began her nurse aide training in September and will graduate on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

“I would like to start working, but I want to go higher than a nurse aide,” Rodriguez said. “I would like to return to school to become an LVN. I like to help people.”

She describes her training as “a wonderful experience” and urges others considering the SAIL training to “go ahead and do it; don’t waste your time.”

For more information, call the Victoria College Adult Education Center at (361) 573-7323.

Picture of Lacey Bowman
Lacey Bowman
Picture of Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez
Published: Thursday, 07 November 2013

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