Learning center helping people get back on track - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Learning center helping people get back on track

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ELLENSBURG, Wash.-- In this struggling economy and challenging job market, many people are choosing to go back to school, but what about if you don't even have your high school diploma or GED?

Many are finding help at Yakima Valley Community College Learning Centers across our area.

"I could have graduated with home schooling but I was a little bit behind," said Grant Lund, 19.

Lund got his GED in October with help from instructors at YVCC's Ellensburg Learning Center.

Now he's a student at Central Washington University, majoring in exercise science. But he says he couldn't have done without some help.

"I thank them so much. Without their help, like I said, I would not be where I'm at right now," said Lund.

"Basically, in our program we help students prepare to take the GED test," said Erleen Beckley, an instructor.

The GED is basically a high school equivalency test and Beckley says in today's job market it's a necessity.

"Students who do not have a GED have a much more difficult time finding employment. They really need those skills, just to be successful in the workplace," said Beckley.

YVCC has learning centers in Ellensburg, Yakima, Toppenish, Grandview and Sunnyside where people ranging in age from 16 to 60 can get help to pass the test.

"In the beginning we test them and set up an individual learning plan for each person," said Beckley.

Instructors at the learning center say students can take as much or as little time as they need. They just need to feel prepared to take the GED.

"Usually the school system didn't work for them. So they come here and it's just no pressure," said Neely Rouse, an instructor.

Students get individual attention at the learning center and have lessons tailored to fit their needs.

Rouse says over the years they've seen about 90% of their students get their GED, many then move on to college.
Just like Grant Lund, who says he doesn't where he'd be or what he'd be doing if it wasn't for the instructors at the learning center.

"I thank them a lot for basically helping me begin my life," he said.