Liz Tiley, director of adult education and evening programs, Smith Vocational Adult Community Education (ACE), 80 Locust St., Northampton
Years in business: Smith School opened its doors to students 109 years ago, in 1908. The adult education program had 500 students attending night classes in the 1970s but was discontinued 25-30 years ago. I built the current program from scratch when I was hired in March 2016. In the first year, we had 250 students taking 40 classes.
What do you offer and to whom? Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School offers evening and weekend adult education programs. Courses include preparations for electrical and plumbing licensure (apprentice-journeyman-master) as well as health, high school equivalency, manufacturing, OSHA, personal trainer, ServSafe and SolidWorks certification. Culinary (farm-to-table and basic skills), dance, photography, repairs (auto, bike, homeowner, small engine), technology and welding are some of the recreational classes available. Students range in age from teens to seniors.
Why? What motivates you? My goal is to create programs that address the workforce training needs of local businesses and offer community members a way to advance their careers, learn some new skills or just have fun. I am motivated by past participants’ expressions of gratitude, enthusiasm and excitement.
What sets you apart? Smith Vocational Adult Community Education is currently the only post-secondary adult education evening/weekend provider approved by the state Board of State Examiners of Electricians in both Hampshire County and Franklin County. Although our adult education classes are taught by experienced professionals in well-equipped shops, costs are nominal because they are offered through Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.
What mark do you hope to make on your community? I hope that, by offering local access to career vocational technical education opportunities, Smith Vocational Adult Community Education will change lives and, through our lifelong learning courses, be known as a place to study something different and have fun with peers, new and old.
How people can contact you:
(413) 587-1414, ext. 3530.
Voices of the Valley is compiled by Janice Beetle of Beetle Press in Easthampton, a PR and communications firm. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for this feature, email Beetle at firstname.lastname@example.org.