Rebranding, rebuilding of HCLL in the works
Leaders with the Harrison County’s adult learning facility are looking to rebrand and rebuild the program. To help make it happen, Harrison County Lifelong Learning also will need a new executive director.
At the last Harrison County Council meeting in August, Tom Fields, a HCLL board member, asked the council to consider signing a letter of commitment to show its support to fund the adult learning facility and new programs to help residents build skills area employers need.
“We’re at a crisis of not having a skilled workforce,” Councilwoman Jennie Capelle, who also serves as a HCLL board member, said.
To provide employers with skilled workers, the board is asking the county for additional financial support going forward.
“The board of directors cannot continue running the center without funding,” Fields said.
The request comes to help attract a new executive director, who, without proper funding, may not take the position if it appears to only be a short-term job.
“You’re not going to get a quality director if they’re not sure that it’s even going to exist in three months,” Capelle said.
Despite being without a director at times during 2019, the HCLL is low on funds, which Fields said is due to the council funding the bare minimum to keep the center open. New programs are already underway, and the board will need additional funding to get those classes going and attract students to the courses.
“This is about $125,000 more than what we funded in the past,” Councilwoman Holli Castetter said.
Councilman Kyle Nix, who also sits on the HCLL board, said Lifelong Learning used to receive roughly $150,000 annually.
Councilman Gary Byrne, who is a former HCLL board member, said he remembered when adult education used to receive approximately $175,000 each year.
“I think the years of $150,000, $160,000, I don’t think we can operate at that level,” Derrick Grisby, the chief financial officer at the Harrison County Community Foundation which manages the HCLL’s finances, said.
Fields mentioned four new programs that are part of the center’s plan moving forward. They include dual-credit programs for high school students to receive college credits. The HCCF covers the costs. Fields said the state will soon require teachers to have a master’s degree in the subject they’re teaching for students to earn dual credits. The law will go into effect in 2022.
Fields said many teachers earn a master’s in education. “They would not qualify to teach (dual-credit) courses,” he added.
Ivy Tech Community College provides the instructor, and the program started near the end of August with 18 students from the South Harrison Community School Corp. enrolled. It will open to Lanesville and North Harrison students next year, according to Fields.
Beginning in October, HCLL will start offering Comptia A+ courses to earn a certification to work in information technology. Ivy Tech will offer the course and says the certification earns new employees between $15 and $18 an hour working as a technical support specialist, field service technician, IT support technician or administrator.
Harrison County Lifelong Learning also will offer pharmacy technician certifications through Ivy Tech and Microsoft Office Suite courses through the Harrison County Public Library.
These programs were selected after discussions with Harrison County employers.
Fields said Harrison County Hospital plans to send workers to some of the courses.
Capelle said Walgreens, for example, needs additional pharmacy technicians. She added the adult learning program was able to fund the startup of these programs because the center is not paying for a director since Doug Robson’s departure last year.
No action was taken by the council, which will meet again Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.