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NEWPORT CITY â€“ When Eileen Illuzzi became the new interim director of the North Country Career Center earlier this month, she left somewhat of a void with the schoolâ€™s adult services program.
However, thanks to the Northeast Kingdom Learning Services (NEKLS), the void will be short lived.
NEKLS will help with the program that Illuzzi will continue to oversee. Illuzzi has a Vermont Department of Education state license as an Adult Services Coordinator as well as Career Center Director. The Department of Education is okay with the arrangement, at least for now.
â€śThis is a huge opportunity for us to work closely with the career center to enhance the opportunities all of the adult students have for adult education,â€ť said Michelle Tarryk, executive director for Northeast Kingdom Learning Services. â€śWeâ€™re really hoping to provide more opportunities for classes within the career center, after school hours, to support the variety of needs of students in the area.â€ť
NEKLS offers classes to adults with and without high school diplomas.
The Career Center generally offers adult classes in the evening and on weekends, but may offer afternoon classes as well, in addition to its regularly scheduled high school level classes. Class subjects range from hospitality to customer service to automotive technology.
Under the contract, NEKLS will run the adult program for 48 weeks, 30 hours a week, for $36,000. Goals include increasing enrollment by 10 percent and coming up with new strategies for classes and programs.
Carla Watson, through NEKLS, will participate in the career centerâ€™s strategic planning process.
â€śWe really want to be able to train students so, when economic opportunities come to the Northeast Kingdom, we have a trained work force,â€ť said Illuzzi. â€śWhere do we want to be in five years with the adult services department? What classes do we want to be offering?â€ť
The career center, said Illuzzi, would like to offer more certification programs. NEKLS tries to offer classes that other educational sources don't, like the Community College of Vermont, so the center is not duplicating services.