Supporting Diverse Adult Education Students for Stronger Communities

Director's Corner March 05, 2019

When I think about what makes NOCRC special, I think about diversity and the many different walks of life that our students come from. Some have advanced degrees, some have developmental challenges, some are unemployed because they have a language barrier, and others hold multiple jobs while struggling to balance family duties with educational aspirations.

In response to the diverse needs of adult learners in our region, NOCRC has emerged as the premier regional provider of an equally diverse set of noncredit, adult education resources.

In February, one of our many programs, the ARISE Lab, was honored with a 2019 “Excellence in Continuing Education Award” from the Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE), the professional association dedicated to supporting California’s noncredit community college and community services programs.

The need for the lab came about to fill a gap in the post-secondary educational system to support increased numbers of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in reaching their educational goals. The lab also is a professional development resource for staff and instructors who want to learn how to successfully support and work with students who have ASD in a classroom setting. The ARISE Lab was recognized for having a high level of success, innovative programming, and effective partnerships.

Today, I would like to congratulate our NOCRC family on this wonderful achievement, while highlighting the behind-the-scenes Workgroups that develop and manage programs such as this one.

Working together with community partners, these Workgroups support regional adult education students by providing them with and connecting them to the services they need to meet their educational and career goals.

Each of NOCRC’s Workgroups represents a specific area of focus:

  • Basic Skills/High School Diploma: Committed to addressing the needs of adult students looking to get their high school diploma or GED. The Workgroup’s current strategies emphasize efforts to provide programs for adult students who are at risk of dropping out of high school or those who need alternative pathways to high school diploma completion.
  • Disability Support Services (DSS): Provides instruction, services, and support to adults with disabilities, with an emphasis on promoting independence and self-advocacy. Some of these services include transition counseling, peer mentorship, and the ARISE Lab — which stands for Academics, Relationships, Independence, Self-Advocacy, and Emotional Health —a supportive space for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Career Education and Workforce Development: Implements strategies to increase awareness of career education programs offered through North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE) and North Orange County Regional Occupational Program (NOCROP), enhance student learning, facilitate transition to post-secondary education, and assist with job placement. To promote career success, a career resource center was established to provide guidance and workshops on topics such as employability skills.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL): Actively builds a network of programs and services to help the English-language learner population transition into post-secondary education and/or the workplace. These services include: increasing access to citizenship and ESL classes by providing childcare, academic and career counseling, success programs, and the noncredit-to-credit mentorship program, which helps ESL/Citizenship Program students secure the academic services they need to successfully reach their college goals.
  • Supporting Adults for Student Success (SASS): Provides support services to parents, teachers, and caregivers to help them and their school children be more successful. Most recently, the SASS workgroup has partnered with K-12 partners to offer various Love & Logic® workshops throughout the region.

Today, NOCRC remains more committed than ever to these areas of focus and to making sure our regional, adult educational and workforce needs are being met.

A sincere thanks to all of the faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community stakeholders who by working together have helped make NOCRC the award-winning success it is.

For more information about the various services NOCRC offers, please visit