They say you are never too old to learn. While the adage will always apply, some educators believe it’s now crucial in the changing, complex job market. Now, Westport Community Schools is …
They say you are never too old to learn. While the adage will always apply, some educators believe it’s now crucial in the changing, complex job market. Now, Westport Community Schools is expanding its mission and gauging public interest in a possible new adult community education program (ACE) here.
The district rolled out its new initiative last week and has created a public survey to help them learn the needs of adult learners. One of the end goals is to offer education to those in the work force who think they may need new skills, or need to better prepare themselves for the changing face of the job market.
“Our job is to make sure that members of our community have the tools to advance themselves,” superintendent Thomas Aubin said. “When we take a look at technology, and things like AI (artificial intelligence), the future of work is being impacted and it’s our job to prepare” today’s, and tomorrow’s, workers.
The initiative is still in its early stages. But Aubin said district officials have been working with area businesses, consultants and other concerned parties to try to hone in on offerings that the community wants and needs.
“I’d love to do it yesterday,” he said, but realistically if everything goes as planned, the district will roll out its adult education program in early to mid-2024.
“There’s a lot of issues that we need to deal with, including where we’re going to do this, who we’re going to have to train, things like that. But I’m very excited about it.”
Though still not yet formed, Aubin said the program will focus on many of the pathways already being introduced to school-age students. They include health sciences, advanced manufacturing, transportation, the construction trades and business/finance. The district is well-placed to expand these programs to adults, he said, and education will include on-demand skills training, the use of advanced technology to teach subjects in the classroom, and via partnerships and internships with local businesses and educational institutions like Bristol County Community College.