Meet your GOAL: New partnership spurs opportunities for adult education 

single-meta-cal December 7, 2022

A new year is on the horizon. What will 2023 look like for you?

While the economy is undergoing a shift, the job market remains strong. Now is the time to position yourself to make the most of it. A study by SmartAsset, a consumer financial resource site, ranked Huntsville second in the nation for career opportunities. A new partnership aims to help more people take advantage of the possibilities.

Drake State Community & Technical College and Calhoun Community College are bringing their GOAL program to the Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center. GOAL, which stands for Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners, started in October 2021. The free program is designed for people who want to become more employable.

Now, the joint initiative is branching out.

Breaking down barriers

“One amazing partnership with a local community center can change the future of families seeking career advancement and education,” said Drake State President Dr. Patricia Sims. “Drake State is committed to serve more students by bringing quality instruction closer to residents who need it most. Expanding the GOAL program to the Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center will allow us to meet individual students where they are, removing barriers that prevent them from reimagining their futures.”

“We are proud of the partnership with Drake State and our plans to expand to the Dr. Richard Showers Recreation Center,” said Calhoun Community College President Dr. Jimmy Hodges. “We expect the GOAL program to impact the community like never before and we know Dr. Showers, who committed his life to service, would be proud. Our adult education programs will pave the way for students to acquire quality training and education to enhance life skills and positioning them to be more successful.”

The GOAL program is providing the instructors and necessary technology, while the recreation center offers a consistent meeting space and room for growth. For Parks & Recreation Director James Gossett, it’s an ideal match.

“Our goal at Parks & Recreation is to help people live more enjoyable, fuller lives,” he said. “Education is an important component. Through these classes, residents can gain the skills to enter the workforce or seek new, higher-paying jobs.”

The partnership launched this month with a General Education Development (GED) class. Research shows an estimated one in 10 Alabama adults lacks a high school diploma or its equivalent, a GED certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this one step can increase an adult worker’s median earnings by 25%. It also makes higher education a possibility.

“An adult education student seeking their GED will be able to work toward their associate degree,” said Mindi Russell, GOAL Shared Services Coordinator for Drake State. “A degree opens the door to high-paying careers in areas such as advanced manufacturing, cyber security and health sciences.”

Looking to the future

While the GED class marks the beginning of the partnership, there are already plans to expand.

“We will add additional services such as ESL, workforce prep and career pathway classes in the near future,” said Wendy Roberts, GOAL program director for Calhoun Community College.

The result will be a “learning opportunity zone for adults” in North Huntsville.

Digital Literacy classes will teach students entry-level skills such as computer and internet basics, Windows 10 and the principles of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. ESL classes will provide instruction in reading, writing and speaking English, preparing adult learners for further education or a career. There will also be opportunities to earn a Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSCC) certification, which could lead to employment with one of Huntsville’s many manufacturing or automotive companies.

The Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center is located at 4600 Blue Spring Road in Huntsville. For more information about the GOAL classes offered there, contact Kent Ballard at 256-851-4001. To learn more about classes offered at Drake State or Calhoun Community College locations, email or