The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Transitional program teaches life skills

By Erin Barnard/reporter

Soft piano music filled the air as student Kyle Miller welcomed participants to the March 26 introductory workshop, Dreams Don’t Have To Be a Figment of the Imagination.

Miller, like many students in the transitional skills program at NE Campus, demonstrated the confidence he has obtained from such courses.

According to committee member Walt Milner, the transitional skills program is the best-kept secret in Tarrant County. The goal, stated on the program’s online site, is to equip developmentally challenged adults with the skills necessary to move from dependence to a greater sense of personal independence and accomplishment using creative and experimental learning methods.

The first academic level of the program, Tier I, focuses on communication skills, math skills and computer skills. Tier II emphasizes life skills and employability skills. Students learn how to work with people, confront problems in the workplace and prepare themselves to live an independent life, which is the main objective.

“Given the opportunity, these students can grow and develop life skills. They just need the experience,” said Phil Overton, committee member and parent of a student in the program.

As an employer, Dr. Mary William, chair of the foreign languages department, said she looks for a few key qualities when hiring.

“First, I look for job ability, experience and commitment, then someone who can accept supervision,” she said. “The program gives students wonderful job attributes.”

Williams explained that each student she hired out of the program has achieved job skills, and many go beyond the requirements.

Summer Catron, a student employee and Tier II student, has many of the same hopes of most young adults her age. 

“In the program, I learned how to make my own budget and write checks. I made menu plans and shopping lists for meals and also learned what I need to have for an apartment,” she said.

Hired by Williams to work in a campus computer lab, she has even learned how to use the Scantron machine. Catron said she hopes to eventually obtain her driver’s license.

Erin Menzel, a Tier I student and president of PALS, an organization to help students in the program, said she is learning computer concepts and working with Windows XP to eventually become certified. Upon completion of Tier I, Menzel said she is looking forward to Tier II and the prospect of independence.

“The program helps students to move on from where they have been and to become more independent,” Milner said.

Volunteers from the community and local businesses also play an important factor in the success of the program. Milner explained how local grocery store Kroger plans to set up a mini-store this semester to teach students the importance of grocery shopping.

“This is an evolving program, and we need more volunteers,” he said.

For information on the program or to become a volunteer, contact director Jackie Woodard at 817-515-6728.

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