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Klamath Community College has been awarded a $2.1 million grant to help low-income, first-generation community members earn a GED and enter college or training programs.

This U.S. Department of Education high school equivalency program (HEP) grant will be distributed over a five-year period, beginning this year and ending in 2024. Grant funds can also be used to aid GED earners in upgrading employment or entering the military.

The educational opportunities provided by the HEP grant will include effective outreach and recruitment, instruction, and support services for students. Programs will be tailored to meet student needs and will provide wraparound support services for participating students, including education and career services for small student groups and one-on-one.

‘Lasting change’

“The programming provided by this grant will encourage more people to be engaged and to transfer to college-level education with the support they need,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez. “The low-income, first-generation community members who take advantage of these programs will be part of a lasting change that benefits our entire community.”

Students enrolled in GED courses at KCC through the HEP grant will have access to personal, vocational, and academic counseling. Other services will include placement services designed to place students in a college, university, workforce program, or military service or career positions.

“Through this grant, KCC will be able to serve adults outside the immediate Klamath Falls area and help them have greater opportunity to be successful in their personal and professional aspirations,” said Charles “Chip” Massie, KCC executive director of external programs. “The five-year grant period means KCC will be able to provide comprehensive education and career services from start to finish.”

Student access

KCC’s GED program is administered through the college’s Klamath Center for Education and Training (K-CET). The center’s GED courses are designed to evaluate students’ individual needs and to determine individualized starting levels for each subject. Instructors then work closely with students as they study writing, science, language arts, math, keyboarding and workplace skills. Students who are enrolled in GED courses through K-CET have access to campus facilities, including the Learning Resource Center, Veterans Services, and ASKCC, the KCC student body government.

“As the first in my family to go to college, I know the culture shock and logistical hurdles some students face,” said Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. “With this investment, these students will have important support systems to help pave the way for success. I will continue to use my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to make sure programs like this are funded, so students at KCC and across Oregon can access the training and education that will provide a lifetime of opportunity.”