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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Livingston Centers Shorten Commute for Students

How long is your commute to class? Two miles? Ten? Some WCC students from Livingston County drive up to 60 miles roundtrip to take a class on campus. However, others have shortened their commute by taking classes at one of two WCC extension centers in Livingston County.

Since 1985 WCC has offered a variety of general education classes at Brighton High School. In August 2004 the College opened a center for the Hartland community at the Hartland Educational Services Support building on Highland Road.

Why offer classes in Livingston County? Because like elsewhere across Michigan, Livingston residents need to stay current in their careers and to train for new ones. Unfortunately, they do not have a community college in their county to turn to.

“Having the opportunity to study close to home gets the ball rolling for many of our students,” said Laura Evans, coordinator of the Livingston centers. “They save money on gas, and it’s convenient for high school dual enrollment. Classes are smaller at the Brighton and Hartland centers, which makes it more comfortable— maybe less intimidating for new students. We have great faculty and staff, and we provide lots of help with admissions, testing, orientation, registering, and advising.”

That help is individualized, whether you need a little or a lot of help navigating the online application and enrollment process. Evans knows that adult learners returning to the classroom can be overwhelmed with the details before they even open a book. “That’s why we try to make the process of signing up for classes as stress-free as possible,” said Evans. “We’re glad that they’re taking that next step, and we’re always happy to help.”

Everyone Has a Unique Story to Tell

The reasons for enrolling at one of the Livingston centers are as varied as the people who attend them. Here are some examples:

  • Hannah Eckman was a motivated homeschooled student when she dually enrolled at WCC in Hartland. Philosophy and art were two of her favorite classes.
  • When he was 19, Aaron Soutar aspired to a career in cyber security or computer programming. He got his general education class requirements out of the way at the Brighton Center.
  • Julie Johnson was a mother of six and hoped to become an elementary school teacher or a social worker when she registered for classes in Brighton.
  • Howell High School graduate Laura Steinberger envisioned herself on the road, seeing what the country and the world had to offer. After finishing her studies at WCC, she transferred to the Maritime Academy in northern Michigan.
  • Robin Sluis was thinking ahead to her aging mother’s needs in the years to come when she signed up for the certified nurse assistant program at Hartland.

Twenty-Six Years and Counting

These individuals remind us that learning is a lifelong process. That was certainly true for the 1,498 Livingston County residents who took credit classes at WCC in Winter Semester 2011. One third of them attended classes at either the Brighton or Hartland center. One of them was former Petty Officer Second Class Carl Gibson.

Gibson was with the U.S. Navy for 14 years. He took advantage of the Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Bill to attend WCC when he was discharged. At Washtenaw he accumulated credits that will transfer to EMU, where he plans to pursue a career in communications.

So if you find yourself on U.S. 23 exiting in Brighton or Hartland, you might see a sign directing you to a WCC extension center. When you do, remember that WCC has been educating Livingston County residents close to home for 26 years.

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