New Penn State program prepares adults for transition to college

July 18, 2011

Many jobs today require a college degree or specialized training. A new Penn State program is designed to help adults who have a high school diploma, GED or some college credits, but no degree, prepare for success in the college classroom. The Transitions: College and Career Prep program was held for the first time at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown, Pa.

"The loss of manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years has hit central Pennsylvania hard," said Keith Mernin, adult education instructor with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU) 11 and Transitions instructor. "We want to help people who have lost jobs find new careers with a future."

TIU's mission is to help area adults complete their GED (high school diploma equivalency) and prepare for the workforce. Penn State Continuing Education is partnering with TIU to offer the program. Continuing Education approached TIU in 2008 about collaborating on a college prep program because of TIU's success in conducting similar programs for adults interested in health care careers.

"We knew adults in the Lewistown area could benefit from a college prep program," said Betsy Esposito, coordinator of Advising and Student Services. "Because the Learning Center in Lewistown and TIU have the same goals, it was a natural alliance."

The six-week Transitions program covers math, writing, reading comprehension, technology, note taking, research skills, time management and financial aid issues.

That's just what Lauren Winder, mother of a toddler, was looking for. "The Transitions program is helping me brush up for college," said the Mifflintown resident, who is enrolled in her first college course at the Learning Center in Lewistown. "I’m finding math is one of my strongest points. I didn't know that."

This summer, the Transitions program is expanding to two other Penn State Continuing Education locations. Continuing Education University Park is partnering with Central Intermediate Unit 10 and State College Area School District to offer the program, which began July 5 and runs through Aug. 11. Call 814-235-5582 to register for the University Park program. The Continuing Education Williamsport Center is partnering with The Learning Center to offer the program, which began July 6 and runs through Aug. 15. Call 570-326-0536, ext. 151, to register for the Williamsport Center program.

Penn State Continuing Education offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 30,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

  • Keith Mernin is an instructor for Continuing Education’s new Transitions: College and Career Prep program for adults.

    IMAGE: Bill Wallace, Penn State Outreach

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 18, 2011