University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings, School District 2 unveil GED partnership to address needs of adult learners

February 4, 2009



Woody Jensen, Billings Public Schools, 247-3710
MSU Billings College of Technology, 247-3003 
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


 Adult Basic Literacy and Education operation opens at West End COT campus


What: Open House for MSU Billings/School District 2 adult basic education partnership
When: Tuesday, Feb. 10
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Place: MSU Billings COT Technology Trades Building, 3803 Central Ave.
Details: Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and tours will be offered.

Contacts: MSU Billings COT / 247-3003; School District 2 Adult Basic Literacy and Education / 247-3710


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — A unique partnership between Montana State University Billings and Billings School District 2 has been developed to help meet the general and higher education needs of adults in the area, the organizations announced this week.


The partnership allows adults to pursue a GED and then transition into higher education with help from both Adult Basic Literacy and Education (ABLE) experts with School District 2 and academic advisors at the MSU Billings College of Technology.


A full unveiling of the partnership will take place at an open house on Tuesday, Feb. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the COT’s Technology Trades Building, 3803 Central Ave. The open house is free and anyone from the public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.  The university’s Student Services staff will be available to provide tours of the COT campus during the open house, including the new Health Sciences building.


John Cech, dean of the COT, said the first steps in the partnership were taken last fall when COT made some office and classroom space available for the ABLE program on the West End. The idea made sense, Cech said, because it provided easy access to adult basic education for citizens on the West End and Laurel.  Currently, School District 2’s adult basic education programs are offered only at Lincoln Center in Downtown Billings.


The goal of the new partnership, educators said, is to serve adults:

  • Needing to complete their GED;
  • Intending to go onto post-secondary training or education;
  • Recruited as unrecognized talent for post-secondary training;
  • Having a GED or high school diploma, but needing academic brush-up before COT enrollment;
  • Needing ABLE literacy services and not able to attend the Lincoln Center.

“This is a great partnership and we will be able to leverage a lot of our resources at the COT to help people,” Cech said.

Billings Public Schools officials said the partnership also provides another way for adults to advance their lives.


“For adults interested in a jump start to better job opportunities and college, this is a great opportunity to do that.  It is a personal investment in their future at no cost to them,” said Woody Jensen, Adult Education Director for Billings Public Schools.


Interest in the program was seen last fall from a variety of residents in West Billings as well as from Laurel, Cech said. That shows a need waiting to be filled, he said.


Recent statistics show that there are about 121,000 people in Montana age 16 and older who are no longer in the education system that do not possess a GED or a high school diploma, he said.


“This is an opportunity that will grow,” Cech said.


Orientation and education work will be handled by Billings Public Schools personnel, but COT advisors and faculty will provide presentations about degree opportunities for those students who wish to pursue two-year or four-year degrees.


“Once they complete their GED, we can then work with them to explore their goals and opportunities at MSUB,” Cech said.


For more information about the new West Billings GED partnership, contact the MSU Billings COT at 247-3000 or Billings Public Schools Adult Education at 247-3710.


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