SunTrust Bank Foundation Grant to Help Lifelong Learners
El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center, provides free English, computer, Spanish literacy and vocational training classes.
Now, the SunTrust Bank Foundation is supporting a group of lifelong learners on their path to a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Training Certificate.
At the Palm Beach State College campus in Lake Worth, students are currently studying basic construction math, construction drawings, basic safety and OSHA regulations.
The $15,000 SunTrust Bank Foundation grant awarded to El Sol allowed for 13 students to enroll in the NCCER core certification course at a reduced rate.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” said Gabriel, who was born in Mexico. “We can’t sing victory yet, but we are studying.”
The lifelong learners enrolled in the NCCER course have years of experience in construction trades, according to Raquel Echeverria, a worker development associate at El Sol.
“Carpentry, electrical, HVAC, they’ve done it all,” she said.
Over the summer, Raquel led tutoring sessions for students wanting to preview course material and practice reading and writing in English. She structured the sessions, in part, like lectures so students could also practice listening and taking notes.
An AmeriCorps VISTA member at El Sol, Raquel helped recruit students for the NCCER course. She recruited Eduardo, a Venezuelan immigrant with 16 years of experience as an engineer.
Eduardo plans to continue studying at Palm Beach State College after earning his NCCER Core Training Certificate. He wants to earn certifications in plumbing.
Eduardo and his fellow lifelong learners worked hard to prepare for the NCCER course, Raquel said. “I was more than happy to help them.”