LIVERMORE FALLS — Alan Chretien is living proof that adult education can transform your life in a powerfully positive way.
Chretien, who lost his job at Verso’s Androscoggin Mill in Jay in a wave of layoffs during the fall of 2015, retrained for a new career at Spruce Mountain Adult Education. He did so well in the college transitions course that he is well on his way to completing the electrical lineworker program at Kennebec Valley Community College, from which he will graduate in May.
He is sharing his experiences with a national audience.
On April 26, he will speak at the Hall of Flags in Washington, D.C., to the Commission on Adult Basic Education about the importance of adult education. Spruce Mountain Adult Education Director Robyn Raymond suggested that he be one of the speakers, and Chretien was delighted to have the opportunity to share his story.
“I was very honored,” he said. “Any chance I can speak about the difference adult ed made in my life, I like to share it. This program made me a successful college student. If not for this course, I feel I would have struggled.”
Chretien admitted that at one time, he didn’t think he would need adult education, nor did he know what it did.
“I would have to say the message I would like to convey is there is a whole world of education out there and adult ed can lead you in the right direction you need to succeed,” he said.
When Chretien did his retraining, he took a test for reading, writing and math. After doing well in all except the math test, he took the Accuplacer tests and got the scores he needed to get accepted in the electrical lineworker program.
Then, he learned about the college transitions course, “to get my math score up and to sharpen all my other skills. The course covered college culture, writing, math and a computer tech class.”
Raymond said the College Transitions course lasts 15 weeks, and those successfully completing it receive a certificate and one college credit. She added that Chretien is an Adult Learner Scholarship winner, one of five people nationwide to receive the award.
Chretien said he ended up getting a much better score on the Accuplacer than what was needed to get into the program, thanks to college transitions. He said he took some lessons from the college culture section of the course that he uses every day in the KVCC classes and on campus.
Chretien encourages those contemplating a career change to take adult education classes.
“Don’t be afraid of change and taking a chance,” he said. “I was pretty nervous about going back to school. It had been almost 18 years since I graduated high school; my skills were a little rusty.
“The best part about starting off at the adult ed is they really care about you and want to see you succeed,” he said. “It is a very comfortable learning environment. The skills you receive at the adult ed and the college transitions course make you a confident student heading into college.”
Alan Chretien of Livermore Falls with his son, Leo.