Last updated: August 23. 2013 10:12PM - 46 Views

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LIMA — A few months ago, Randy Martin was out of work with little hope of finding a job. In a few weeks, he’ll start in the nursing program at Rhodes State College.

He credits a free five-week class at the school for getting him ready for this next stage in his life.

“I decided I wanted to see what college was like, get a heads up and what it is like, and now I’m ready for college,” Martin said of Rhodes’ Quick Start program.

The school is one of three in Ohio to get a grant for the program aimed at getting underemployed and undereducated adults prepared for college.

An orientation is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 20. To register, call 419-993-7415.

So far, 150 people have gone through the program, with 80 then enrolling at Rhodes, said program coordinator Natasha Mears. Through a combination of online and classroom work, students learn about their own learning styles, complete a career assessment, get help with federal financial aid forms and get access to math and English tutors.

“They get a lot of questions answered,” Mears said. “It simplifies the admissions process. It introduces them to the philosophy of higher education and what it can do for their life.”

The program, Mears said, helps break down barriers some people have, including worry of paying for school, not having a support system, and just wondering if they can be successful.

“It builds confidence, a sense of accomplishment and courage to know I can make that next step, that I am college material,” she said.

The final step is meeting with an academic adviser to develop an individualized road map, Mears said.

Martin, 46, had previously worked as a handy man, but without education couldn’t find anyone to hire him. He said the program taught him good study skills and how to better manage his time. He  has since convinced his son to sign up.

Rhodes offers the course on campus, as well as at the Apollo Career Center and Vantage Career Center. Participants receive a half credit toward college for completing the program.

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