HCTC Work and Learn assists student’s future (Lee County News)

Chasity Whitaker
Chasity Whitaker

High school wasn’t a priority to Chasity Whitaker of Beattyville but now she realizes that a college education is very important and so she’s enrolled at Hazard Community and Technical College. “First and foremost, my 7-year-old, Troy Dennis, is why I wanted to further my education. I want him to know that education is very important. I also want to better myself so I can better our family and our lives,” she said.

While in high school, Chasity’s husband’s grandmother had a stroke and became paralyzed and there was no one to take care of her and the family wanted her cared for at home. So Chasity dropped out of high school and moved to Lexington to provide assistance.

Four years later, she moved back to Beattyville where she met Cheryl Botner, instructor at Lee County Adult Education, who got her to change her life’s course and become committed to her education. “I would never have made it as far as I have today; she has helped me far beyond what any teacher has done. She is a wonderful instructor,” Chasity said.

Chasity is enrolled in online college classes at HCTC and has a goal of becoming a preschool teacher or work at a daycare or even be a children’s nurse. HCTC’s Work and Learn coordinator, Mavis Poe Clemons, has assisted Chasity in her educational pursuit.  “I’m thankful to Mavis Clemons and the college for this wonderful opportunity they have given me.  I look forward to starting my future with them,” she said.

Chasity joined the Work and Learn Program in February 2014 to begin working toward earning her GED.  “After Chasity began working on her GED she gained confidence in herself and you could literally see that confidence grow during each meeting. Chasity became more and more engaged in her education,” noted Mrs. Clemons.  As the Work and Learn Coordinator, Mrs. Clemons aided Chasity with exploring different career options and offered career counseling.

Workshops are completed with all students that focus mainly on learning soft skills. Mrs. Clemons has linked her to resources that provided her with important college information. She also provided her with materials regarding programs of studies that are offered through HCTC and also assisted her with completing her enrollment application for college.

The HCTC Work and Learn Program assists students from the very beginning of their educational journey until they are settled into college. Chasity is the first HCTC Work and Learn student to receive her GED since the new test has begun. “I am very proud of the diligence she put forth toward earning her GED; it is such a great accomplishment and I look forward to her future achievements because I know great things will happen in her life,” Mrs. Clemons said.  Chasity is currently employed at the Lee County Board of Education and plans to transfer to the Ready to Work Program to complete an Associate’s Degree with Hazard Community and Technical College.

The HCTC Work and Learn Program includes the counties of Perry, Knott, Leslie, Breathitt, Owsley, Lee, and Wolfe. The GED test changed at the beginning of 2014 and some students say that it is quite more challenging than the past exam. “The Work and Learn Program helps students realize that education will open many doors and create multiple opportunities for them and their families,” Mrs. Clemons said. All students have the potential of earning a GED; they just must have the determination to follow through with their plan. When students participate in the Work and Learn Program, they work on specific goals tailored to their needs, whether it be increasing Math or Reading scores. The program also emphasizes employability skills and places students in work-study positions to increase their marketable skills.

For more information about the Work and Learn Program, contact Mrs. Clemons at (606) 487-3284.

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