As the economy weakens and more than 1.2 million jobs were lost in 2008, many adults are returning back to school to further their education and training.

“The Adult Services was started around 1984 and was intended to help returning adults,” Vickie Geisel said.

TJC offers a free service to help returning adult students. Support services and Adult Student Services, are available to help adults return to school after an absence, along with single parents and displaced homemakers. This free service also helps with childcare, transportation and books.

As well as offering trained employees to help with decision-making, they also hold adult student workshops throughout the year. The next workshops will be April 21, May 28, and June 16. The workshops are 3 and-a-half hour information and orientation sessions for returning adult students age 21 or older and single parents of any age.

Bryan Baker, instructor/department chair of Industrial Trades, said the Air conditioning and Welding program at TJC has seen many adults return to school to learn new skills to open up new job opportunities.

TJC has had a number of students return to school over the past five years. This past semester, the air conditioning and welding department saw about three returning students. In the past couple of semesters, they have seen as many as 20 returning students.

As businesses cut back on jobs, the demand for people working with air conditioning and welding remains in high. Places such as Wal-Mart, Brookshires and other stores with food products are not going to cut refrigeration. These businesses are still continuing to use maintenance workers on their air conditioning to be able to sell food products.

“Welders make and repair a lot of equipment, which is a very high skilled job,” Baker said.

As students return, they usually come and complete the number of hours for a certificate rather than a degree. The program offers two different certificates in welding and air conditioning, as well as degrees in both.

Tim Bennett, a returning student in the welding program at TJC, said he “enjoys the hands-on experience as well as the instructors”.

The welding and air conditioning classes are given on the west campus and are not available during the summer.

Anyone interested in the Adult Services is encouraged to get registration information by contacting the TJC Support Services office at 903-510-2395 or visit http://www2.tjc.edu/adultservices for more information.

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