TIU to offer award-winning program

LEWISTOWN – A college and career training course that was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Creativity and Innovation award presented by Penn State University’s Academic Outreach division will be available again locally this spring.

Transitions: College and Career Preparation Program is a free, six-week program provided by Tuscarora Intermediate Unit Community Education Services in cooperation with Penn State University. The program is designed to help adult students gain the skills and confidence needed to succeed in post-secondary education.

“What we find is, there are a lot of adults who want to go on to post-secondary education who don’t have a background in certain skills that are needed at that level,” said Carol Shefrin, co-director of community education services at Tuscarora Intermediate Unit No. 11.

The Transitions curriculum focuses on helping those adults improve their study skills, time management, test- and note-taking, reading comprehension, writing and presentation skills. Shefrin said participant in the program also learn basic technology skills.

“(Returning adults) may be able to do email and navigate the Internet pretty well, but have never taken an online course,” she said.

Through class instruction, participants become more comfortable with online instruction – a skill Shefrin said is necessary for post-secondary students. Professors and teachers are utilizing technology now more than ever by uploading class documents to the internet and requiring digital submission of assignments.

Betsy Esposito, academic support resource coordinator for Penn State Continuing Education, said nine Transitions graduates are currently enrolled at the Penn State Lewistown center. One of the earliest graduates has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services and now works in a professional position in Mifflin County, she said.

However, Transitions participants are not obligated to apply for admission to Penn State, Shefrin said. The mission of the program is to help all adult learners achieve success no matter where they choose to attend school.

In fact, Esposito said some program participants don’t arrive with specified educational or career goals. Elizabeth Lasher, career counselor for the program, visits the Lewistown program several times throughout its course to help learners develop plans for their education.

After graduating from Transitions, Esposito said participants gain restored confidence and direction for continued education.

“Invariably, they talk about the confidence it gave them to know they could succeed,” she said.

A Spring 2013 Transitions class will meet from 9 a.m. to noon each Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning March 25 at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown.

Shefrin said the class has been offered here for more than five years and has enrolled over 100 participants. This fall, the collaborative program received recognition from Penn State University for its positive impact on the adult learners it serves.

“My staff here work very hard, and it’s kind of an ongoing thing … really there isn’t very much public recognition,” she said. “It was nice to have Penn State acknowledge that this is a worthwhile activity.”

To apply for the Transitions: College and Career Preparation Program, call the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit at 248-4942, ext. 109. Applicants will participate in a brief interview to ensure that their goals and skills match the transitional level of the program.