According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of adults in the Silicon Valley who do not hold a high school diploma is well into the double digits in some communities, prompting the South Bay Consortium for Adult Education (SBCAE) to launch Open Doors, a regional campaign that brings to the forefront the diverse adult education programs that put adults lacking language, literacy or technical skills on a solid path to work, school and/or career training.
In the area served by SBCAE, a partnership of five adult schools and four community colleges in Santa Clara County, the percentage of adults without a high school diploma is as high as 17.7 percent in San Jose, the consortium’s largest city, followed by 14.2 percent in Milpitas, 13.5 percent in Santa Clara and 12.9 percent in Morgan Hill, according to census data. Statewide, 18 percent of the population aged 25 and older does not have a high school diploma or equivalency, according to census data.
“People often think of the Silicon Valley as a place of affluent tech workers, which is true, but it’s more diverse than that, with many low-income residents who cannot live on the wages they make and are looking for opportunities to livable wages and a better future,” said Kishan Vujjeni, co-chair of the SBCAE. “Our consortium members provide programs throughout the valley that can help this population attain the skills they need, no matter where they are in their educational journey, and transition into a career or postsecondary education.”
SBCAE member organizations offer English-language classes, apprenticeship opportunities, career education courses, basic math and literacy classes and support services for adults with disabilities, with many of these programs being free. The consortium has nine transition specialists, representing each school and college, who help students identify their educational and career goals and develop a concrete path to achieving them. Adults age 18 and older are eligible to enroll in classes.
Those interested can visit the campaign website to explore options and complete a short form so a transition specialist may contact them. The website includes a map that shows the location and contact information for each transition specialist. For more information, visit www.OpenDoorsSouthBay.org or call 408-918-5100.
South Bay Consortium for Adult Education Members
SBCAE organizations that are members of the Open Doors campaign include:
Campbell Adult and Community Education (Campbell Unified School District)
East Side Adult Education (East Side Union High School District)
Santa Clara Adult Education (Santa Clara Unified School District)
Milpitas Adult Education (Milpitas Unified School District);
Silicon Valley Adult Education (MetroED)
Evergreen College and San Jose City College (San Jose-Evergreen Community College District)
Mission College and West Valley College (West Valley-Mission Community College District)
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