Chattanooga State no longer offers GED classes

Chattanooga State Community College's entrance is pictured in this Google photo.
photo Chattanooga State Community College's entrance is pictured in this Google photo.

Chattanooga State will no longer provide adult education in the Chattanooga area.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has restructured its adult basic education services, going from providing 40 district sites to just eight. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Athens will be the new provider of services.

"Chattanooga State is sad that we're not going to be the provider," said Nancy Patterson, vice president of marketing and communication. "It's been our privilege to serve as a provider for Adult Basic Education in our community since 1987."

The reduction in district sites is expected to reduce the department's administration costs from $3.15 million to $2 million.

Those savings will be used to improve adult basic education programs, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

"At this time, Chattanooga State has no plans to be involved in partnering with the grantee to provide adult education services," according to a letter signed by Suzanne Poteet Elston, Chattanooga State's director of adult education. "TCAT Athens will be tasked with developing local partnerships to provide suitable space for classes."

Chattanooga State will continue to serve students through June 30 and try to refer them to alternative locations and classes as more information comes available, according to the letter.

New Chattanooga area locations for adult education are still being finalized. However, organizers said they expect to offer more locations than they do now, with the Chattanooga Career Center expected to be one of the sites, said Chris Cannon, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Highland Park Adult Basic Education site is scheduled to close Thursday, and the last day providing adult basic education on Chattanooga State's East campus will be June 21, giving adult education staff time to wind down by June 30, according to a Chattanooga State news release.

Chattanooga State will host its final Tennessee High School Equivalency diploma graduation at 7 p.m. Thursday in the gym on the main campus.

Patterson said it's expected to be an inspirational experience.

Funding for the adult basic education program at Chattanooga State ends July 1, according to Patterson.

Chattanooga State did not apply to be a test provider, she said. The local institution wanted to serve its service area, but that service area increased after redistricting, she said.

Skip Eberhardt, who once operated adult basic education preparation classes for the test, said he hopes testing sites remain in central locations that are easily accessible to students.

Even when the testing was at Chattanooga State, he had to bang on doors to get students up for the preparation class and then give them a ride to the class, he said. He also gave students rides to take the test. He had nine students get their adult basic education certificates in the eight months he operated his preparation classes, he said.

"People are already having a hard time just trying to get in the door," he said.

Chattanooga State is exploring ways to provide more classes on English as a second language, Patterson said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.