Free college prep course for adults

July 3, 2011

ABETCC program graduate Milton Rivera

Fall classes help adults prepare for college

Interested in college and a good career, but need help getting ready? Know someone who wants to get ahead but could use instruction and support?

The Fall Adult Basic Education Transition to College and Careers (ABE TCC) program offers a free course to help adult learners prepare for college.

Offered by Holyoke Community College and the Community Education Project, the fourteen-week program will take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:15 a.m to 1:15 p.m. from September 12-December 16 on the HCC campus. Classes will help students master reading, writing, math and basic computer skills in a college context, and teach study skills and strategies to achieve college success.

For those who need more preparation, an evening Bridge to ABE TCC course will be held Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-8:30 p.m. from September 6 to December 15. This course will meet at the new Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center (PAFEC) in downtown Holyoke.

ABE Transition to College and Careers Program Coordinator Elia Dreyfuss, said the program has helped hundreds of adults gain critical academic skills and the confidence to succeed in college.

"Many of our students have faced barriers to higher education, whether it be economic, a lack of legacy of college in their own families, or cultural or language barriers. We also serve students who have had some college experience, or even degrees from other countries," Dreyfuss said.

In order to be eligible, students must be 18-plus years old to apply, must have a GED (from anytime) or a high school diploma from at least four years prior to registration, must be proficient in English (high level ESL learners are welcome), and must intend to complete a college certificate or degree either part-time or full-time after completing the program. Participants have full access to all HCC services and activities, and those in the fall and spring programs are given a free bus pass.

Milton Rivera, 46, a graduate of the ABETCC program, first met Dreyfuss in the Ludlow House of Corrections, where she was recruiting eligible students for the program. He was serving time for multiple convictions for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. That was 2008. Now a member of the college's Green Key Honor Society, Rivera is looking forward to earning his associate's degree in Human Services with a goal to transfer to Westfield State.

"Before getting in the Transitions program I was scared of college. I had the opinion that college was real hard, especially since I had been out of school for 25 years and I was just getting out of jail," Rivera said. "I soon realized school isn't as hard as it seemed and it's all about discipline and doing the work. The ABE staff showed me that."

Registration is now being accepted for both fall courses. The program includes extensive mentor and tutor hours outside of class time, support identifying a career path
and navigating the college admissions process.

To register or for more information, contact Elia Dreyfuss at (413) 552-2852 or


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040