Students learn English, earn GED and return to workforce with COM program

Martha Guerrero had only had a sixth grade education in Mexico before immigrating to the U.S.

She wanted to attend a university, but working as a produce picker six days a week, marriage and raising four children left little time for education until her family moved to Texas.

“My youngest is six, so I thought ‘I know I have to do something for my life,’” Guerrero said. “I thought ‘I need to learn something, get a different job.’”

She spotted a flier for adult education classes at a library and called and enrolled in English as a second language classes.

After she completed some English classes, her instructor urged to her go further and complete the COM GED/workforce program, which allows students to earn a GED and learn workforce skills at the same time.

“I said ‘I can’t,’” said Guerrero.

She came anyway.

Roger Mora, Career Navigator, informed her of her options – taking welding, business, medical coding, certified nurse assistant, machinist or air-conditioning classes while working toward her GED.

“I decide to go into the medical field (because) I love to work with people. In my (certified nurse assistant) clinicals some of the residents didn’t speak English, so they need people who speak Spanish,” Guerrero explained.

She determined to finish the program, getting up at four a.m. on Saturdays for clinicals. 

“I’m proud of myself,” said Guerrero. “I didn’t know I could do a lot of things. I love to learn. I can learn quickly. I didn’t know I could do it, but now I know.”

A total of 148 students have come through the COM GED/workforce program, which allows students lacking a GED or high school diploma or with limited English skills to start job training now. 

The program offers scholarships covering tuition, books and fees for students who qualify. It is funded through the Accelerate TEXAS grant, through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. COM Adult Education is funded by the Texas Workforce Commission through the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Board at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. 

“We can start people in their vocational pathway before they finish their GED,” said COM Director of Adult Education Josh Hayes.

COM has provided adult education services for over 40 years, ensuring economic opportunities for all residents of our tax district regardless of education level. Classes are generally nine weeks and enrollment is open to all Texas residents over the age of 18 years who are not currently enrolled in a public school.

For more information on COM GED, ESL or workforce education classes, visit www.com.edu/adulted or call 409-933-8294.

Stay Connected with COM: