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GRTS Sees Adult Enrollment Influx
Constitution-Tribune, Thursday, October 15, 2009

C-T Photo/ Laura Schuler

CAPTION: Mitchell McCumber of Hale, Missouri, (left) works on a welding project at Grand River Technical School during welding class. McCumber and Zach Simmons (right) of Bosworth, Missouri, are among 80 adult full-time students taking daily classes at the school, up from 60 last year.

Like community colleges across the country, the Grand River Technical School is seeing an influx of adults heading back to the classrooms to make themselves more attractive to potential employers during the recession.

According to assistant director Jayme Caughron, there are 33 percent more adults taking classes there this fall than there were last fall at this time. “There’s just more people who are out of jobs that are going back to school,” Caughron explained.

There are 80 adult full-time students taking daily classes at the GRTS, up from 60 last year. That number, Caughron said, does not include the 48 students currently enrolled in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), paramedics and Certified Nurses Aid (CNA) programs. The number of students enrolled in those programs, she said, is fairly consistant with last year’s tally.

The school’s total enrollment — which includes adult and high school students — has also increased by 8 percent this year. Specifically, there’s 709 students taking classes there this year.

While the increased adult enrollment growth has a large part in the GRTS’ overall increase, Roger Wolf, co-director, says that there seems to be more high school students enrolled in classes this year. He said that the size of high school classes causes those enrollment figures to cycle from year to year. However, he did say that many parents are recognizing that their children need vocational job training in addition to furthering their education.

Certain programs at the school seem to be in high demand. All of the adult-only programs are full. Among them, is the diesel technology program. There are 22 or 23 students enrolled in that all-day program. The school's diesel technology and industrial maintenance programs are also in high demand, as is computer networking.

High school students who have graduated are finding that they can use their A+ eligibility at the GRTS and so enroll in classes there while holding down jobs. Other students have enrolled in a program immediately after completing one to expand their field of expertise or simply hone their skills.

Adult students may enroll full time at GRTS for $5,200 which pays for a full school year. Many students quality for Pell Grants or financial aid awarded by GRTS.

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