Educational Opportunity Center helps adults achieve higher education
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB ) -- Often times adults looking to finish high school or pursue higher education do not know where to go for help. A local government agency is trying to spread the word, to take advantage of its services.
The Educational Opportunity Center is based on UTC's campus. Workers there say they recently received a grant to expand its outreach efforts.
If you are looking to complete high school or if you are the first in your family trying to go to college, they can help.
"I come from a low-income, first generation family. Nobody had ever gone to college before," says Cynthia Long, director of the Educational Opportunity Center.
Long knows first-hand the challenges of going back to school. "I went back to college when I was 35 years old," she says.
The U.S. Department of Education funds the center to help adults further their education, offering one on counseling and help getting financial aid.
"We help with every level of education. It could be a six or eight week certificate. It could be a one year program," says Long.
"I have kids, but I still want my life. I still want my education and my career. So that's why I'm here," says Keisha Wheeler.
The center helps those like Wheeler. She is looking to complete her college degree and is taking a career test to find that right fit. "You know, you have your family members encouraging you. But it's always good to have somebody else out there willing to help you to see that it's never too late. You can always, you know, reach for the sky," she says.
"There a so many people that could take advantage of this. They just don't always know we're here," says Long.
"If I had known about it, it's something that I would have used," says Johnika Everhart.
With a recent grant, the center hired Everhart to help expand its presence in the community. On top of helping low-income students, she wants to spread the word, the center is especially looking to help military families, foster youth or homeless youth obtain that diploma.
"If it doesn't apply to you, that's fine. But tell everybody you know about us. Because we're willing to help," says Everhart.
It is free to use the center's services, and workers there say it is not too late if you are looking to go back to school this fall.
Give the center a call at (423) 425-1702 to set up an appointment, and they can lead you in the right direction.