BRISTOL - Every community in Connecticut is mandated by state law to have an adult education program, said Lawrence Covino, Adult Education supervisor. “We are lucky enough to have one of the more vibrant adult ed programs in Hartford County.”
Adult Ed is mandated to have a minimum of three programs: the adult secondary education programs, the English language courses, and the citizenship classes, he said.
Covino said Bristol residents have three different ways to earn a high school equivalency degree, all them free, funded by the state. The best known one is the GED (General Education Development), in which students now have to pass four rigorous online test sessions, lasting up to six and a half hours.
Then there is the Credit Diploma Program, which is more traditional option offered in the evenings with a classroom teacher.
The third option is the National External Diploma, an online program designed for working adults who do not have the time to come to the local adult ed facility on a regular basis.
“The state mandates that a local adult ed only offer one of these, traditionally it’s been the GED, but again we’re lucky enough in Bristol to offer all three programs,” Covino said.
There are approximately 6,000 Bristol residents who do not have a high school diploma, he said.
English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are offered four days a week, in the mornings and evenings. As of last fall, ESL had students who spoke 26 different languages, he said. “To see them all in the same room, working so hard to learn English and assimilate, is amazing. I love it.”
Above and beyond these mandated programs, Adult Ed has an innovative Manufacturing Workforce program which offers the specialized training needed for students to get jobs in manufacturing.
There is nothing like this anywhere else in the country, and it is completely grant funded, Covino said, noting that five of the seven students who most recently graduated from the program already have full-time jobs in area manufacturing companies.
And then there are the Continuing Education courses, such as Zumba, yoga, stained glass, computer programs, and more.
Bristol Adult Ed is also a Pearson VUE testing center, offering over 100 different online licensure and certification assessments three days a week for people coming from all over New England, he said.
For more information, call 860-584-7865 or visit www.bristol.k12.ct.us/adult-education .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.