Business Profile: Brevard Public Schools’ Adult Education
Even in the midst of a pandemic, Brevard Public Schools’ Adult Education program found a way to not only rise to the occasion, but to thrive and continue to serve its community while keeping it safe. With classes aimed at multiple community needs, adding online classes to the in-person offerings removed barriers for more students.
Evelyn Padilla, Communication and Engagement Coordinator for Brevard Public Schools, said the pandemic and the shift to online learning actually has had a positive impact on adult education. Today, they offer classes both online or in-person at one of four adult education centers throughout the county.
“The shift to e-learning has been a real game-changer for us. It removed some of our biggest obstacles, like transportation and childcare issues. Lots of barriers were taken away,” Padilla said. “Back in the spring of 2020, we had to make the shift and learn how to do it, and now we do it well.”
Lorri Benjamin started work as the new director of adult education in August of 2020. She has 12 years experience working for Brevard Public Schools both in the classroom and as an administrator. Her experiences as an assistant principal at Cocoa High School and Central Middle School made her passionate about providing equal opportunity for all students.
“My biggest reason for wanting to work in adult education was looking at equality,” Benjamin said. “I want to take barriers away and give students multiple opportunities for success.”
Brevard’s adult education department offers multiple tracks for prospective enrollees looking to earn their high school diploma. Classes help students earn the required credits or courses to prepare to take the GED exam. An onsite GED testing center is currently open for testing with social distancing guidelines in place.
But Brevard’s adult education program also includes vocational training with programs that allow students to prepare for careers in the automotive and trade industries. Students who choose the pre-apprenticeship program have the opportunity to explore and prepare for a hands-on career in trades like HVAC, electrical, plumbing, or construction. Students learn valuable job skills and earn the proper certifications to join the workforce.
All four Brevard Adult Education Centers offer classes in English for speakers of other languages. The courses help students improve their English, learn more about American culture, and even prepare them to become an American citizen.
Lifelong learning courses also are available for members of the community simply looking to learn a new skill. They offer Spanish and basic computer skills, even a timely course in Zoom basics. All courses are offered both in person and online, and tuition for most lifelong learning classes is just over $30.
“It’s never, ever too late. It’s a new year and time for a new start,” Padilla said.
1225 Clearlake Road, Cocoa
Read more articles in our digital magazine.