Tech Center Takes Adult Education to New Heights



December 06, 2017

All of the Adult and Continuing Education programs at The Tech Center are rewarding to work for, but perhaps the TASC (Testing Assessing Secondary Completion) program is the most life-changing for participants. “I had a student who needed to have his TASC (high school equivalency diploma) in order for him to keep his job at a restaurant,” said Cathy Connolly, TASC coordinator at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES.  “He not only continued to work at the restaurant after he got his TASC, but he became the head chef.”
 
PNW BOCES Adult and Continuing Education Coordinator Alyson Trudeau agrees about the positive impact of these programs. “We hear from people all the time whose lives have been changed by them,” she said.
 
The Adult and Continuing Education program at The Tech Center serves the workforce preparation needs of more than 3,000 adults each year through continuing education, career and technical education, literacy training and training for business and industry.
 
In addition to the TASC and Spanish TASC classes, Adult and Continuing Ed programs include classes in computers, construction, culinary arts, health, real estate, security training and many others that can help people transition to a job or begin a new career.
 
“There are also classes people can take just for fun,” Trudeau said. Among these are photography, art and yoga.
 
Many of the programs are held day or night, either on the BOCES Yorktown campus or in other locations, which include Peekskill, Carmel, Mt. Kisco and Ossining. But when there is a need, programs will travel as well.
 
“People reach out to us all the time with programs they would like to have,” Trudeau said. Trudeau recently got a call from a local hospital asking to organize an English New Language (ENL) class for some of its staff. “We try to make it work whenever we can,” she said.
 
“We have the greatest staff,” Trudeau said, adding that each person gives 100 percent to ensure students get everything they need. Staff members also follow up with students after they leave the programs to see if they need additional help.
 
And the students, by all accounts, are eternally grateful. There was the woman in her sixties who “just wanted to get her TASC because it meant something to her,” Connolly said. After taking the test five times, she finally passed. “She was so happy,” Connolly said, “that she came back with homemade cannolis for us!” Then there was the woman who joined the program to get her TASC so she could keep her job in maintenance at a hospital. After passing her exam, she was promoted to head of housekeeping services.
 
“I love this job,” said Trudeau, who has worked at BOCES for 35 years, “because I get to interact with so many different people from different walks of life. These programs do so much for the community. We have people who came for a high school diploma, who go on to get college degrees; we have people who needed to get a TASC diploma in order to get or stay in their current job—and we have people who, once they have gone through the program, mentor students still in the program and come to graduation. They become family.”
 
The Adult and Continuing Ed program:  Andrea Conte, Lori DiBiase, Antonio Paone, Gloria Vazquez, Cathy Connolly, Jean Giordano and Alyson Trudeau, all give 100 percent for the program.