Central State Hospital, a hospital within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), presented its first Educational Advancement Ceremony Wednesday evening at the Chapel of All Faiths.
CSH honored 64 employees, who have furthered their education while continuing to work at the campus.
GMC President Emeritus Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Peter J. Boylan served as guest speaker for the evening.
“Each of you is to be congratulated for your determination and persistence in overcoming obstacles you've faced to become role models for others,” Boylan said. “You have my highest esteem and profound respect for your magnificent accomplishments. Well done.”
The ceremony was the product of a partnership between CSH, Central Georgia Technical College, Communities in Schools of Milledgeville/Baldwin County (CISMBC) and Georgia Military College, who last April formulated Employee GED programming. CGTC manages the initiative allowing people enrolled in the program to use work hours to further their education without loss of pay.
The tech school's services offer a great employee benefit for dedicated workers lacking high school or equivalent GED diplomas.
The training costs employers nothing as part of the technical college's adult literacy mission. The only cost is the GED test itself, which vested partners help pay for.
Sallie Devero, Assistant Vice President of the Adult Education Division at CGTC, said this honorable group “empowered” themselves to “improve earning potential through education.”
“Each one of you have shown academic progress over where you were when you started this program,” Devero said Wednesday. “That is commendable.”
She said CSH administrators and community partners care about the circumstances of these employees by allowing a chance for “self-improvement and growth.”
Employee work release GED programming offers a brighter future using an adult literacy vehicle. Staff get what they need to not only become better employees, but in the case of Central State Hospital, the literacy mission gives folks additional help in finding employment again when the current jobs are phased out.
Regional Hospital Administrator Dan Howell highlighted the dedication shown by all participants. He said the GED initiative would continue in the Allen Building.
“Whether you participated in class or you advanced in your learning, I am personally humbled. You had the courage to say I wanted help and want to learn more,” Howell said. “We are going to continue this program regardless of when Central State closes. The commitment from DBHDD is there.”
Howell said CGTC and GMC put together a “great vocational program.”
Sixty-eight individuals took the offer. Over half of those employees are progressing their level.
CISMBC board members Boylan, Sandy Baxter and Lyn Chandler pushed the Central State GED piece, helping soon to be displaced employees.
“It's important that you set goals for yourself to create a map of who it is and what it is you want to become and accomplish and then pursue it with all of your strength,” Boylan said.
Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority executive director Mike Couch sees adult literacy making a marketable workforce as a new future for the old state hospital. He said it started from a meeting between CGTC President Dr. Ivan Allen and Boylan.
Old school employee vetting without a high school diploma or GED certificate is firmly in the rear view. Most participants have held city or CSH positions for decades without that educational piece.
Considering the upcoming shuttering of the Craig Center, this adult literacy talk comes at the perfect time. The CSH authority director said this offers tangible workforce improvement evidence to qualify these individuals for future opportunities whether it be a privatized caregiver model or some other job.
Craig Center employee Shante' Reaves entered the program from the start. Reaves is still working on the big test.
“I'm trying to get a better job,” she said.
Reaves said coworkers and friends provide a motivation to improve. She thanked the partners behind adult education.
“Craig is about to close down, and they are doing everything possible for us to get this out of the way,” Reaves said.
Boylan said the GED work sets Milledgeville up well for a shot at keeping clients and jobs here.
GED students may also gain college credit hours.
“With continued effort, you will complete this program and transition into a credit program in order to move into the career of your choice,” Devero said. “Don't stop. Stay the course. The best is yet to come.”
Those participants meeting a certain level on college placement tests independent of the GED assessment qualify for CGTC's Accelerated Opportunities Program (AOP). The accelerated portion lets individuals earn college credit while obtaining the GED diploma.
The college accepts whatever HOPE Scholarship money is available for AOP students and waves other fees after the CGTC President made that pledge.
CGTC instructors tailor class material depending on the initial assessment level. GED program students ascend to passing all portions of the final test.
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