Life­long Learn­ing Cen­ter hosts inau­gu­ral re­cep­tion for grads

Speak­ers con­grat­u­late at­ten­dees, urge them to pur­sue ca­reer dreams

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­ Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

The Life­long Learn­ing Cen­ter, lo­cated at the Robert D. Stethem Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter, held its first-ever re­cep­tion for new and up­com­ing grad­u­ates Sept. 28.

De­spite heavy rains, a half dozen former stu­dents came to the grad­u­ate re­cep­tion, fea­tur­ing ca­reer dis­cus­sions by in­di­vid­u­als from a num­ber of fields.

“This is to help grad­u­ates look­ing for jobs, by bring­ing in speak­ers from var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions who can speak with them about op­por­tu­ni­ties in the com­mu­nity,” said El­iz­a­beth Sinnes, co­or­di­na­tor of adult ed­u­ca­tion. “We want to honor our grad­u­ates, but we also want to make sure our stu­dents are con­nected with the next step in their ed­u­ca­tion, which is jobs, or train­ing for jobs.”

The Charles County Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram at the cen­ter of­fers day and evening classes for stu­dents pur­su­ing a Mary­land high school di­ploma through the Na­tional Ex­ter­nal Di­ploma Pro­gram or gen­eral ed­u­ca­tional de­vel­op­ment (GED) tests.

Sinnes said the inau­gu­ral event was sched­uled to co­or­di­nate with Adult Ed­u­ca­tion and Fam­ily Lit­er­acy Week, which ran from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1.

Grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies for the re­cent grad­u­ates will be held Oct. 20 at North Point High School.

Norma Dorsett, youth and young adult ser­vices pro­gram man­ager for the Depart­ment of La­bor, Li­cens­ing and Reg­u­la­tions, praised grad­u­ates for their ac­com­plish­ments.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions, be­cause I know that is not an easy job, es­pe­cially once you’re an adult, and you have to jug­gle fam­ily, and go­ing to work, and all these things, and you’re try­ing to reach your goals,” Dorsett said.

Dr. Dianna Ab­ney, health of­fi­cer for the Charles County Depart­ment of Health, spoke to at­ten­dees about the var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties in the health care profession, in­clud­ing physi­cians, nurs­ing, phar­macy, psy­chol­ogy, phys­i­cal ther­apy, med­i­cal billing and oth­ers.

“There is so much di­ver­sity in the health care field,” Ab­ney said. “The bot­tom line is, you can find some­thing that in­ter­ests you if you’re in­ter­ested in health care.”

Ab­ney en­cour­aged grad­u­ates to pur­sue their goals to­ward their de­sired oc­cu­pa­tion, in health care or else­where.

“Ev­ery­body’s jour­ney, to what­ever their ca­reer is — health care in­cluded — is what­ever your jour­ney is and it is the right jour­ney for you, and you just need to work to­wards it your own way,” Ab­ney said.

Lora Ben­nett, di­rec­tor of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence for tech­nol­ogy in Charles County Pub­lic Schools, dis­cussed how her ex­pe­ri­ences as a math teacher even­tu­ally led her to the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy field.

“Tech­nol­ogy, at this point, is so ubiq­ui­tous in our so­ci­ety, that what­ever you’re in­ter­ested in, if you have a knack for tech­nol­ogy, you could be in that in­dus­try, do­ing tech­nol­ogy,” Ben­nett said.

Bruce Posey, di­rec­tor of the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s Cen­ter for Trades and En­ergy Train­ing, said there are high-pay­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the trades, such as plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal and HVAC tech­nol­ogy.

“There are a num­ber of rea­sons the trades have suf­fered, but the demand is pretty great right now,” Posey said. “If you’re not afraid of a lit­tle hard work, and you’re not afraid of crack­ing the books, the trades might be worth look­ing at.”

Steven Tripp, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Chaney En­ter­prises, said it is im­por­tant when in­ter­view­ing with a new com­pany to do research and make a pos­i­tive im­pres­sion.

“Show up, show them you care,” Tripp said.

Ta­jala Lock­hart, CEO of Sim­ply Con­sult­ing, which pro­vides ca­reer coun­sel­ing, told grad­u­ates this is a new be­gin­ning in their lives.

“The world is your pearl,” Lock­hart said. “What­ever you want to do in your life is yours, as long as you’re will­ing to put in the work.”

Sherri Buck-San­ders re­ceived her di­ploma in Au­gust. The mother of four said she dropped out of school af­ter be­com­ing a par­ent, but years later learned about the Life­long Learn­ing Cen­ter through a brochure at her daugh­ter’s school.

“They wel­comed me with open arms,” Buck-San­ders said. “They re­ally worked with me.”

Buck-San­ders re­ceived her high school di­ploma in Au­gust.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to mov­ing on, tak­ing the next step,” she said.

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