Empowering Adult Learners on their Paths to Education 

On July 31, College Now’s Adult Programs and Services department held an Adult Learners Resource Fair at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The event connected attendees to partnering colleges, universities, unions, and workforce development programs.  

Those who registered for the event were welcomed with a lovely day with free lunch, an exciting raffle including gift cards and a laptop, and, most importantly, plenty of resources to assist them in reaching their educational goals. Upon arrival, attendees registered for the TRIO Educational Opportunity Center, a grant program aimed at supporting adults, specifically those from low-income backgrounds, who are first-generation students, to enroll or re-enroll in their post-secondary program of choice.   

College Now provides resources catered to adults who seek guidance in finding a career, choosing and enrolling in an education program, and securing financial aid. Returning to these areas as an adult can be challenging, yet College Now advisors offer free assistance to those who register through the EOC application. Each year, College Now provides services for 1,600 adults at the downtown Cleveland Resource Center and numerous locations throughout the community.    

At last week’s event, 20 local universities and organizations greeted the attendees while dedicating their time to providing resources to adult learners on the best steps to take for their educational journeys. Various organizations and community partners shared their programs and career opportunities through an engaging passport-style exploration, where attendees were encouraged to stop by each station and learn about the valuable resources that are accessible to them. Access to these services is impactful, given that by 2025, 65% of jobs in Ohio will require a post-secondary credential or degree.  

“Putting [the vendors] together in the same space was resourceful. Say you want to get your four-year degree, but then you also want it to be connected directly to a job. At the event, you could talk to Kent State University and then Swagelok is there too, and they are hiring,” says Director of Adult Programs, Bailey Capelle. “It eliminates the confusion in the process”  

One of the attendees shared her reason for visiting, which included her goal to return to school to attain her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the next few years. She did not attend college immediately after high school, yet now that her children are in school, she plans to continue to pursue her own education goals. She also was lucky enough to receive the grand prize, a brand-new laptop, to help jumpstart her post-secondary journey!  

The Adult Programs and Services department works to support adult learners in their education journeys and continues to emphasize that learning has no age limit. The program serves learners 19 years of age and above across six counties, including Cuyahoga, Lorain, Summit, Richland, Medina, and Lake. Appointments with the College Now advisors are free of charge.  Be sure to stay on the lookout through College Now’s website and social media platforms to know when Adult Programs and Services are holding their next event!