Greak Oaks adult learners graduate at Fairfield church

Johnny Astrop, a Navy veteran from West Chester Twp., hugs his dad, John Astrop Thursday, June 28, 2017, after he received his welding technician career passport from the Adult Workforce Development program Great Oaks. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

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Johnny Astrop, a Navy veteran from West Chester Twp., hugs his dad, John Astrop Thursday, June 28, 2017, after he received his welding technician career passport from the Adult Workforce Development program Great Oaks. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Nearly 160 people in 12 Great Oaks adult workforce development programs, 48 GED graduates and 24 graduates in the adult diploma program are ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives.

The 229 adults received either their career passport certifications or diplomas as they graduated this past Thursday evening at the Tri-County Assembly of God in Fairfield.

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“Many, many of these graduates are already employed or they are about to be employed,” said Carol Gittinger, director of the Great Oaks adult education program.

One of the GED graduates, Alberto Olvera, who lives on the east side of Cincinnati and emigrated from Mexico two years ago, said Thursday was “something very important.”

“Everyone wants to have a better life, to achieve their goals,” said Olvera, who is working towards his American citizenship. “That’s why I tried to do.”

His next goal is to attend the Live Oaks campus and study to be a heavy equipment operator. On Thursday, 10 of the 157 adult workforce development graduates were within the heavy equipment operations and engineering program.

They earned what’s dubbed a career passport.

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“A passport tells others where you’re from, where you’ve been and where you are going,” said Mary Lopinto, career planning specialist at Scarlet Oaks. “The students here this evening will be receiving their career technical passport. This passport is a credentialing document designed to assist in the job search. It tells where the student has spent the last 10 months and the education journey they have been on. It highlights their achievements and documents their entry into a new profession and career pathway.”

That passport outlines the certifications each student received, and on Thursday those 157 students earned a collective 2,737 certifications.

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