RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are taking the initiative to provide more residents of Southeast Ohio with opportunities for higher education.
As part of this effort, Rio has partnered with Pike County Aspire (formerly known as ABLE) to help Jackson Area residents take the next steps to advancing in their preferred career field. Rebecca Long, vice-president of student & administrative affairs, said the partnership with Aspire helps students shift from the program and into higher education.
“It’s a wonderful accomplishment when students are getting that high school equivalent. They are so motivated and ready to move on to that next step,” Long said. “Transitioning to a higher education can still be scary, so partnering with Aspire and having the program located in our Jackson Center helps the students become more comfortable and successful in the college environment. Our goal is to give students the skills they need to find employment and support themselves and their families.”
Rio and Aspire hosted a graduation ceremony to recognize the students who recently earned their GED through the program. Rio also donated caps and gowns for the students to wear at the commencement. Amanda Ehman, director of admissions operations, said she was honored to speak at the ceremony and give the graduates advice to plan the next step of their education and career plans.
“This was a very exciting event. Pike County Aspire (formerly known as ABLE) has been part of Rio’s consortium in Jackson since we were funded by the Ohio Means Jobs-sponsored Industry Workforce Alliance Grant,” Ehman said. “Now that these graduates earned the equivalent of their high school diploma or GED they have so many more open doors in front of them. It was wonderful to celebrate all they have accomplished and all they will do in the future.”
Aspire provides adult learners with the opportunity to learn basic academic skills necessary to accomplish their educational and career goals, offering classes to adults who want to prepare for the GED test, adult diploma program, and several other career advancing opportunities. Long said she enjoys working with the program because they share Rio’s mission of providing learners with the opportunity to attain high quality education.
“Aspire is a great program that helps adult students prepare for education. We are very excited to have a partnership with them because it opens more opportunities for students,” Long said. “This partnership enhances our initiative of bringing quality education to our area. We want to create these opportunities and a supportive environment for pursuing a higher education in local communities, and this allows us to continue achieving that goal.”
For more information about Rio Grande or Aspire, contact the Jackson Center at 740-288-0284.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist for URG.