GCCC celebrates Garden City Career Connection Academy

People celebrate the unveiling of the newly named Garden City Career Connection Academy at GCCC on Thursday morning. Formerly called the adult learning center, the academy provides adult education for students seeking foundational general education, career connections or English acquisition courses.
By SCOTT AUST
Finney County Economic Development Director of Communications

Amid a celebratory atmosphere that featured dancing, balloons and several groups of international students singing the national anthems of their native countries, Garden City Community College officially unveiled the new name of the adult learning center on Thursday morning.

The newly named Garden City Career Connection Academy strives to provide innovative opportunities that promote and help participants to successfully meet their educational and life goals in an environment that is committed to life-long learning.

The Career Connection Academy provides access to adult education for students seeking foundational general education, career connection opportunities, or English acquisition courses, according to a brochure. It exists to serve the 21 percent of the Finney County population that lacks a high school diploma and the 41 percent of local families who speak a language other than English in the home.

Ryan Ruda, GCCC president, said the adult learning center is a “division of the college that does immense, important work for providing opportunities for our community, enabling them to reach their individual goals and empowering these individuals with skills that provide lifelong benefits.”

Ruda said whether it’s helping people get their GED, or offering English language courses, citizenship and technical support, career connections strengthens the foundation of the community while holding to the college mission of producing positive contributors to the economic and social well being of society.

“We are proud to host these impactful programs at Garden City Community College. Garden City can be proud of the resources, education and career connections that the adult learning center provides to the newcomers who choose to make Garden City and southwest Kansas their home,” Ruda said. “Today is truly a great day to be a Broncbuster, and continuing to focus on how this college helps meet our mission as well as improve this great community.”

GCCC President Ryan Ruda speaks during Thursday’s ceremony for the Garden City Career Connection Academy.

Chris Lemon, senior adult education director with the Kansas Board of Regents, said the new name is a small change but represents a huge shift in adult education for the students it serves and the community it’s in.

“We look forward to continuing to celebrate the success of the Garden City Career Connection Academy at Garden City Community College, and the students that are being connected to meaningful careers,” Lemon said.

Hector Martinez, GCCCA Director, thanked a variety of individuals and organizations for their assistance, including local employers who have been involved with the center, helping to connect students to careers and lending support such as allowing them the time needed to attend classes, providing scholarships

Hector Martinez, GCCCA Director, speaks during Thursday’s ceremony.

“We’re not different from other centers across the nation,” Martinez said. “We all work to elevate our students in their high potential life. With this change, we ensure we are guiding students to find careers, we are connecting students to certification and employment. We elevate the academics in the classroom by providing math, science, English literacy, just to name a few.”

For more information about the Garden City Career Connection Academy contact Martinez at (620) 276-0643 or hector.martinez@gcccks.edu.