Bridge Program

Student Transition Education for Progress

There’s one good reason to be hopeful these days: S.T.E.P., offered by District 214 Community Education, provides free classes in reading, math and language skills for people who are looking for jobs in manufacturing, technology and health care.

story_2_PC090001_800It is designed for individuals with little knowledge of English, those who read at the 6th-12th grade level, people who plan to pursue a GED or post secondary training either to earn a certification or a college degree.

The 12-week program helps students identify on-the-job work principles, explore careers in manufacturing and technology, and improve their skills needed to get a job.

Julie Frost program coordinator, said the class is very student goal-oriented. "By doing so," said Frost, "we break down the barriers for students, so they can find jobs or continue their education."

Rhonda Serafin, Adult Education and Family Literacy manager, explained that most of the students in the program are in their 30s and come from many different cultures.

Serafin further said that students go through a battery of tests to make sure that obstacles such as child care, transportation issues and other real life situations are removed to give these students the best chance to succeed.

"We keep in touch with our students," Frost added. "Our goal is to help their transition, we fill in the gaps and work with their goals. We care and want to retain as many people as possible." The program according to Frost averages between 15 - 20 enrollees per semester. 

Frost explained that in order to motivate students, grades are not given in the class. Students take things from the class they think are useful and apply them in the real world.

She related that one of the program's former students, Pedro Sebastian, was able to land a good job. She said that Sebastian told her the program helped him especially with the reinforcement in math and computer instruction. He also learned the technology in carpentry focusing on computerized programming for measurement and patterns.

According to Frost, another student, Radu Radulescu, expressed his appreciation for learning the correct vocabulary and terminology in expressing solutions in a professional manner through S.T.E.P. 

Although Radulescu’s skills in math were very advanced, Frost said that he is very grateful for the things he learned especially in expressing answers and solutions the American way as there are many differences in the way things are expressed in Romania compared to the U.S. 

Frost added that each student receives a certificate at the end of every semester to recognize his or her achievement. To qualify, please call Frost at (847) 718-7876 or e-mail her at julie.frost@d214.org.