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Adult technical education once again met with low enrollment in Hernando



The Hernando County School District’s efforts to bring adult-technical education to the county are encountering a familiar foe: low enrollment.

Through the original Aug. 19 course registration deadline, only seven people have signed up for the three courses set to begin later this month.

Two students have signed up for the cosmetology class. Four students have signed up for a course providing training to become a home health aide. Only one student has signed up for the culinary course.

Hernando district officials say they will continue to accept enrollments up until Aug. 26, the first day of the courses. Callers have indicated they are learning about the programs through brochures placed at the schools, according to the district.

Low enrollment killed the district’s February attempt to bring adult-technical education courses to Hernando. This time, district officials were more prepared for the possibility. Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Ken Pritz has said the district is committed to moving forward this time - even with low numbers.

They’ve dubbed the Aug. 26 launch the “soft opening.” The big launch will come in January.

That’s when the district plans to unveil three additional technical course -- all made possible by a recent $1.5 million state appropriation to get the program up and running.

For the 2013-14 spring semester, the district plans to offer courses in automotive service technology; air-conditioning, refrigeration and heating, and machining.

But there’s one other potentially complicating matter: On Wednesday afternoon, one of the driving forces bringing adult-technical education to Hernando County, Michael McHugh, suddenly announced he was resigning.

McHugh, Hernando’s longtime business development director, has been intimately involved in the School District’s efforts, frequently arguing that the courses would help reduce the county’s high unemployment rate.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:12pm]


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