Saturday, January 11, 2014

IBEST Offers Two-For-One Education Option for Valley Adults

College Bridge Pathways students participate in the
STAR-PATH Student Success Seminar at RSC Northern.
Rio Salado College is recruiting Valley adults to earn their High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma and college certificate in early childhood education through a new adult education program.

The Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST) pathway offered through the College Bridge Pathways department provides students with an opportunity to earn their HSE diploma and obtain occupational training at the same time.

The four month program begins February 3 and offers 16 college credits and an 80-hour internship that lead to academic certification in child and family professional development: preschool specialization.

“We’re excited to offer the IBEST Early Childhood pathway,” said Dena Herrera, STAR-PATH project coordinator at Rio Salado College. “The current job market is extremely unfriendly to those without a high school diploma. With IBEST, students have the opportunity to earn college credits in addition to their high school equivalency diploma. They gain work experience through a required internship and get assistance with resume writing and job seeking skills.”

The Early Childhood Education IBEST pathway is offered through partnerships with Walmart and the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The program cost of approximately $1,800 can be covered through financial aid, grants and scholarship opportunities. Students will be required to pay for a fingerprint and background check, and show proof of immunization.

“Cost is not typically a limiting factor for this program,” Herrera said. “Students in previous IBEST classes used Rio Salado College scholarships and grants provided through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation to help cover the costs.”

Participants in the program will attend early childhood education classes for three and a half hours in the mornings Monday through Thursday. The HSE exam prep portion of the program is held Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours in the early afternoon.

“This is an excellent option for students who are able to commit to this four-month program, but it’s not for everyone,” Herrera said. “Attendance is mandatory due to the high level of class activity, so students who need more flexibility may want to consider one of our other High School Equivalency options.”

Because IBEST is a pathways program, students who successfully complete the program are able to apply their 16 credit certificate toward an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Administration and Management.

Four IBEST information sessions will be held throughout January at RSC Northern, 1715 W. Northern Ave., Phoenix. Morning sessions will be held 9 a.m. - noon, Jan. 16 and 23. Evening sessions will be held 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Jan. 15 and 22. Call 480-377-4228 for details.