Sinclair’s festival Friday aims to help young adults finish school

Sinclair College students Ryan Berner, left, and Mikala Coker talk in the school library last fall.  Sinclair is one of the largest community colleges at a single location in the state of Ohio. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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Sinclair College students Ryan Berner, left, and Mikala Coker talk in the school library last fall. Sinclair is one of the largest community colleges at a single location in the state of Ohio. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Fair from 11-2 hopes to connect people who dropped out with education, career paths

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday outside of Building 14 on Sinclair Community College’s downtown campus, Sinclair is aiming to connect with people between the ages of 17 and 25, aiming to help them finish their education.

Sinclair will have resources for people hoping to get their GED or high school diploma, resources for mental health and other ways to support people who dropped out of school.

Michelle Littlejohn, the manager of the Fast Forward Re-Engagement Center, said people drop out of school for a variety of reasons. Instead of asking students in an accusing way, “Why did you drop out?” they intend to ask, “What made you drop out?”

That can help the college find each student the best resources to support them through getting a diploma, she said.

“In order for Dayton to thrive, not only survive, but thrive, we need a younger workforce,” said Sue Phelps, academic coach for the Fast Forward Re-Engagement Center at Sinclair. “So the first step to getting that younger workforce is getting them engaged back into school to get their education requirements for these specific jobs.”

The Academic Re-engagement and Career Festival (ARC) includes free food, games, academic and re-engagement information, music, give-a-ways, job & community resource information and a 360-degree photo booth. It is in partnership with Montgomery County Workforce Development.

Joshua Copeland, CEO of Learning 2 Cope, is the guest motivational speaker. Copeland will share his story to help others identify the root of their issues and to create action plans for success. Copeland spent nearly five years as an academic advisor for Sinclair’s Upward Bound Program.

Littlejohn and Phelps estimate about 11% of people in Montgomery County have dropped out of high school, down from about 25% in the early 2000s when the FFRC was founded due to high dropout rates in the county. But Phelps said according to the U.S. Census numbers, that 11% is about 40,000 people.

Sinclair has free parking outside of the college, Littlejohn said, and the campus is also accessible by bus route.

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