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Employees get the EDGE

craig stoneCraig Stone dropped out of school at age 14 to work and help support his family. He planned to one day return to get his GED. After having children of his own, his original goal was to finish school before his own children graduated from high school. That didn’t happen.

“I was kind of ashamed that I didn’t have my degree at my age,” says Stone, above.

In 2011, he had an opportunity for a promotion in the facilities department. The position required a high school diploma or GED. Stone told himself that he could not keep making excuses.

Stone took part in the President’s EDGE program, which was launched that year by the College of Education and funded by then-President Lane Rawlins’ office.

Six staff members have received their GEDs through the EDGE program. Seventeen staff members are enrolled in the program this semester and five participants are close to passing the test.

“Our goal is to get students’ their basic literacy skills so that they can take the GED,” says Lisbeth Dixon-Krauss, associate dean of teacher education in the College of Education.

The program is free for UNT part-time and full-time staff members. Donations and grants pay for the program director, graduate assistant, computers, books and other supplies.

The program will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21 at the North Texas Lofts.

Update: The open house date was moved from March 31 to April 21 to avoid a conflict with the Staff Appreciation Luncheon.

Classes are taught by graduate and undergraduate students, most of them coming from the College of Education. All the tutors are bilingual.

“When we started working with our employees on campus, we realized that we needed English language skills for a lot of them,” says Dixon-Krauss.

The program teaches math, reading, computer skills and helps its students prepare for the GED.

The program’s computer literacy course was developed specifically for the EDGE program. The course provides skills that can be helpful in positions that use computerized time cards or university assigned email addresses.

“The [GED] test is given on the computer and we want them to learn basic computer skills to help them with their jobs,” says Amy Mougey, the program’s director.

One participant used his new Microsoft Excel skills to help price his soup recipe in the catering department. He was then able to expand that knowledge to price his entire catering menu. Dixon-Krauss says that this is proof that the program can help people not just in their educational endeavors, but in their jobs at UNT.

The EDGE program has seen a lot of participants who work in grounds, facilities and dining services. Mougey and the tutors spend 11 hours a week recruiting staff members that work in the many departments on campus. The program accepts participants with any educational background.

“We have a student who went through her sophomore year of high school, so she is a little bit further advanced,” says Mougey. “We also have one student who has only been to school one month in her life.”

Stone was surprised by how accommodating his colleagues and supervisors were about him going back to school. He also notes that there was never any conflict with his work schedule. Classes are fixed around the participants’ work schedules; there are morning, afternoon and evening classes, as well as Saturday classes.

“Some of our tutors work on some extra tutoring if the participants want it. They are very dedicated and so we want to make ourselves available to give them some extra help,” says Mougey.

Stone is taking some time to get used to his new position as the chiller crew supervisor in utilities management. His next goal is to enroll in UNT to work on an undergraduate degree.

The purpose of the open house is to help people learn more about the EDGE program and how it helps the UNT community. President Neal Smatresk will speak on the program’s goals, objectives and milestones. The entire UNT community is invited to the event and donations for the program will be accepted.

  • What: President’s EDGE Open House
  • When: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. April 21
  • Where: North Texas Lofts
  • Who: UNT community
  • More information: contact Amy Miller

—Awo Eni, student assistant, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

(Photo by Michael Clements / URCM)

Posted on: Thu 12 March 2015

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