With a renewed focus on the mission to provide workforce training and the need to balance multiple priorities with limited resources, Chesapeake College has made the difficult decision to discontinue administration of the Institute for Adult Learning. The IAL membership program was developed 20 years ago to provide enrichment and education opportunities to adult learners over age 55.
Through a unique collaboration with IAL members, Chesapeake expanded educational services to the vibrant senior community of the service area. The College will continue to serve this and other populations with a variety of credit, non-credit, and personal enrichment offerings. Fortunately, since the IAL was first established at Chesapeake, other local community organizations have developed programming for seniors. Dave Harper, Vice President for Workforce & Academic Programs commented, “There are more educational opportunities for the over 55 population now, and we’re pleased that this group has a variety of enrichment options on the Mid-Shore.”
With service demands increasing and the landscape of higher education changing, the resources and administrative support required to sustain the IAL program must be refocused toward maintaining traditional academic programs and expanding workforce training programs.
Harper continued, “It has always been an important part of Chesapeake’s mission to prepare residents of the service area for both (1) 4-year college and university transfer and (2) direct entry into the workforce. County and state leaders, local business leaders, students, and families increasingly ask that we rebalance our programming to include a full complement of workforce training. Our current Strategic Plan acknowledges these requests and motivates us to fulfill the full mission of our College and to—especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic—support regional economic recovery as our students seek better lives for themselves and their families.”
He added, “A renewed focus on workforce training also reflects a national trend among two-year colleges, which are committed to providing career preparation for post-high school students and to supporting the full spectrum of human growth and potential.”
Mr. Harper emphasized that Chesapeake College continues to serve area seniors in several ways.
Seniors receive a tuition waiver for Chesapeake’s credit classes and can register for non-credit personal enrichment courses. Chesapeake will also continue to offer classes at area senior centers. Class topics include fitness, music, computers, foreign languages, and art. The College will also continue to build upon Personal Enrichment options available to all age groups.