Authored By: Bronwyn Robertson, Program Specialist for Workforce & Employer Engagement at the Mississippi Community College Board
One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. As she learned more about this disease, she wanted to create more awareness of its effects. As she was handing out pink ribbons, she told a gentleman, “Here’s a pink ribbon for you to wear for breast cancer awareness.” To her amazement, he said, “You don’t think I’m aware of breast cancer?”
I think of that story whenever we in adult education say we’re trying to create awareness about adult education through our initiative, Skill UP Mississippi. Do we believe people are not aware of the tremendous need in our state for adult education? With over 361,000 adults without a high school diploma, many Mississippians already know about this issue.
However, they may not be aware of how adult education impacts Mississippi’s ability to create and keep jobs or how having more citizens with a high school diploma can help create a thriving Mississippi economy. They also might not know how people’s lives are changed when they can secure a better job. We have to get better at telling our story—and, more importantly, our students’ stories.
That’s where Skill UP Mississippi comes in. It’s not solely about telling people what adult education is. It’s about sharing how our communities and state are changed for the better when more people have a high school diploma. It’s about letting employers know about programs such as Smart Start, MIBEST, and pre-apprenticeships that help our students earn stacked credentials while earning a high school equivalency diploma. It’s about making sure our students know how learning new skills can help them find jobs that will pay them enough money to support their families.
That’s why we created the Adult on Demand podcast that we will post monthly to the Skill UP Mississippi YouTube Channel. Our goal is to keep you up-to-date about what’s happening in adult education while telling our students’ stories of struggle, success, trial, and triumph.
Join us and find out how adult education is making life better for our students, our communities—our state.