Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Adult ed courses canceled; county will push them in fall

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County School District officials wanted their first foray into adult technical education to be small — just a baby step.

They decided to offer three courses. They picked the teachers and the location. They wrote course descriptions. They set the prices.

But there's one thing they didn't do: market the fledgling program.

Only 15 people signed up for the courses, which were to begin this month.

Citing the low enrollment, the district canceled two of the three offerings, including the two more substantial courses — one for people interested in the restaurant industry and another for those interested in manufacturing — said Denise Moen, supervisor of the district's adult and community education programs.

Just two people registered for each of those courses — the only ones leading to industry certifications.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt blamed the compressed period of time to successfully market the programs.

"You've got to get it out and start working on it pretty far in advance to get the (enrollment) numbers you need," Blavatt said.

The district's only offering began Tuesday. Eleven people signed up.

The course, Information Technology Support, is a 20-hour class to help adults become familiar with Microsoft Word 2010.

"This course may be useful in obtaining employment in many fields or by those interested in using computers for life skill functions," the course description reads.

That course doesn't really accomplish the stated goal of retraining the county's workforce, said Hernando County business development manager Michael McHugh, one of the staunchest advocates for adult technical education in the county.

McHugh applauded the district's effort, but acknowledged the limitations of the one course offering.

"It is not really the mission or really the way we are going to get to the success we're looking for," he said.

He also acknowledged the title of the course is a bit of a misnomer.

McHugh and others in the county envision an adult technical education center that will be a critical part of retraining the county's workforce and reducing Hernando's high unemployment rate.

For several years, Hernando has struggled with one of the highest unemployment rates in Florida — 9.4 percent in December.

One reason Hernando County finds it difficult to diversify the economy and bring higher-paying jobs here is that workers lack technical skills, McHugh says.

Adult technical education courses — and eventually a full-fledged center — have long been pitched as a way to fix that problem.

There have been other problems with the launch.

Before canceling the courses, the school district changed the length and cost.

Part of the reason for the slow start is also a lack of money, McHugh said.

"It makes getting operational much more challenging," he said.

"You've got to have the capital to get going. You have to have the resources. They haven't gotten that."

The district needs to have some type of program in place before it can qualify for state and federal grants, and that was the reason for the effort to launch on a small-scale basis.

The school district says it is not giving up.

Courses will again be offered in September.

In addition to the culinary arts and production courses, classes in cosmetology and home health will be added, Moen said.

The courses will all lead to industry certification, she said, and range from 160 to 300 hours at a cost of $436 to $876.

And there's another change coming for the September courses, Moen said.

They will be better marketed.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes on Twitter.

>>FAST FACTS

Technical education signups

Interested in adult technical education in Hernando County? The Hernando School District will offer four classes beginning in September, all of which will lead to industry certification. The courses include culinary arts, production work, cosmetology and home health. Those interested in the courses may contact the Hernando County Adult Education Office at (352) 797-7018. Financial assistance is available to eligible applicants through Career Central.

Adult ed courses canceled; county will push them in fall 02/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 11:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  2. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  3. What you need to know for Wednesday, Aug. 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  4. Drawing nears for Powerball jackpot that's climbed to $700 million

    Business

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball lottery game has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history.

    The estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery drawing on Aug. 23, 2017, has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history. [Associated Press]
  5. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA

    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.