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Adult education program in Great Falls garners praise from students

Connections 101
Connections 101
Connections 101
Posted at 9:35 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 11:35:43-05

GREAT FALLS — An adult education program in Great Falls called Connections 101 is receiving national recognition. The program at Great Falls College-MSU help prepare adults for college, an apprenticeship, short-term training programs, or a job.



“Going through life, I had never really known how to get into college,” said student Sydney Hess.“This class is definitely a blessing.”

Connections 101 is one of just five programs nationwide that have just been recognized as an innovative practice in adult education by the Advancing Innovation In Adult Education Project (link).
The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

“It’s saying, ‘Here’s a model. It works, it works fantastically,” said Tammie Hickey, Career and College Readiness Center Coordinator at Great Falls College-MSU.

Hickey submitted the application for the national recognition. She said, “It’s very cool to think that in other states, other adult ed programs, other community colleges, other workforce partners can look at this and say, ‘Let’s try this.’”

Tammie Hickey
Tammie Hickey

Like Hess, students Isreal McConnell, Jozeph Drummen, and Jon Brady agree it’s a model worth trying.

“I’ve been in adult ed here for a while, since I was 17, and the teachers have been the best teachers I’ve ever worked with,” said McConnell.

“I’m kind of seeing what I’m capable of doing and learning that I’m maybe a little bit more intelligent than I thought,” said Drummen.

“I dropped out in 2017 and I didn’t think I was going to go back to school, just work. Coming here, the teachers having confidence in me, it’s a great feeling,” Brady said.

For more information about Connections 101, click here to visit the website, which provides this overview:

Connections 101 is a 14-week program that provides instruction to adult learners to develop their employability skills and increase their academic knowledge to transition successfully to higher education, an apprenticeship program, short-term training, and/or immediate job placement.

Offered in partnership between the Career & College Readiness Program, Great Falls College MSU and Department of Labor and Industry (Job Service). This no-cost program will prepare you academically, provide OSHA certification, offers 6 college credits for free, gives financial assistance if you continue with your college degree, covers work ethic proficiency, and will guide you through career exploration to align with your purpose, plan, and path!​