The Coast News Group

Mayor touts adult education at annual career fair

Vista Adult School held its annual Career and Resource Fair this month during the statewide Adult Education Week. At the career fair, Mayor Judy Ritter honored the adult education center with a proclamation and visited with participants.

Ritter said her message to those in attendance was the city is working with Vista Unified School District to educate and elevate residents, and provide more options for personal and professional growth.

The annual Career and Resource Fair showcased job opportunities and shared roads to gain employment. A variety of people attended ranging from young job seekers to older employed folks seeking a better paying job.

Information tables filled the school auditorium and spilled out to adjacent rooms. Among those hiring were San Diego County Sheriff, the city Fire Department, Vista Community Clinic and local banks and businesses. Representatives discussed job opportunities and needed training.

Ritter said the education center was the perfect setting to hold the event. Students attending classes at the center were introduced to a variety of career paths, and those drawn to the career fair had an opportunity to learn what the center has to offer.

Ritter said adult education is important to those who need to complete a high school education, as well as those seeking further training.

She added she was struck by the news of the high number of skilled workers employers will be seeking by 2020, and the education gap that exists. Estimates are 65 percent of all jobs will require some post-secondary education in two years.

Ritter said a significant number of Americans do not have basic reading and writing skills that adult education centers can teach.

“There’s a lot of people in that position,” Ritter said.

Education gives prospective employees a leg up. Data shows that a person with a high school diploma earns $9,620 more than one without a high school education. In the workforce, low-skilled workers are two times as likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty, and eight times as likely to be incarcerated.

Adult Education Week in California shines a light on how adult education centers bridge the education gap.

Vista Adult School serves more than 2,800 adult students annually with high school graduation, technical education, and college preparation courses. It offers a wide range of low-tuition classes including adult basic education, English as a second language and citizenship.

Students seeking a better job can enroll in certificate programs for medical, culinary, information technology and business careers. Personal enrichment classes are also offered such as yoga, line dancing and physical fitness.

The school provides a variety of support services for students that include counseling, academic planning, job placement and college transition. Free childcare is also available to students.

Vista Adult School was also honored with a proclamation from county Supervisor Bill Horn during Adult Education Week, which ran from April 9 to April 13.