Education is the great equalizer, and at Albany Technical College Thursday morning the question was; how can we get more people who fell through the cracks educated?
"I feel a sense of accomplishment, but I feel like I'm not finished yet," said Arthur Jones, who obtained his GED when he was 81-years-old. "I realized that I was the oldest person there. I didn't feel bad about it, but I realized we were all there for the same thing."
It's an unlikely story, but also a success story for the education officials trying to show the importance of adult education.
"We have one point three million people in the state of Georgia that don't have a high school diploma or a GED," said Ron Jackson, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia.
They used stories like Jones' at the Community Uplifted Seminar at Albany Technical College.
The goal of the seminar is to inspire the community to become advocates for adult education. Designed to help people understand the challenges of the adult learner, the seminar will focus on the different reasons students seek a GED and how those students play a role in our future.
"The event here is a symposium to bring together individuals from the community who work and care about adult education," said Jackson.
They say having people with basic education isn't just important for the individual, but for the whole community.
You must have a workforce that is both educated trained and skilled to attract companies, to companies that are there, to keep that workforce viable in today's global marketplace," said Jackson.
It's a realization being made by students in adult education programs.
"I think everyone needs to have some type of paper to say you've finished something. It feels really good to know that you are accomplishing something," said Shelby Thorpe, an adult education student.
"You can't get into the front door. If you get into the front door you can't go nowhere. If you want to go somewhere you have to have the know-how. You're not going to have the know-how unless someone brings the information to you," said Jones.
Albany Technical College has an adult education facility in every county of its Service Delivery Area (SDA), which includes: Baker, Dougherty, Calhoun, Clay, Lee, Randolph and Terrell Counties.