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GED Opens New Opportunities for Bill Lamb

Bill Lamb Photo

Bill Lamb is excited at the prospect of starting a new career after earning his GED.

“For years, my wife encouraged me to finish my high school education so I could better myself,” said Lamb, who put his education on hold. “Then, I lost the job I had for 14 years and the most logical thing to do was come back to school. Most of the jobs that paid what I had been making required a high school education. My wife brought me here and I decided to do it.”

Lamb enrolled in the free GED test preparation classes offered through Olney Central College’s Learning Skills Center in Spring 2013.

“I was nervous,” the Noble resident said. “I had been out of school for 30 years. I came here wondering if I would be able to do this, but it was great. The teachers were awesome and everyone worked with me. It was fun.”

Not only did Lamb excel, but he encouraged classmates as well.

“Bill is a wonderful mentor to younger students who are struggling,” said Jessica Parrent, who worked with Lamb as Illinois Eastern Community Colleges’ Adult Education Transition/Data Technician. “He succeeded in the classroom and helped a number of other students.”

The LSC recently recognized Lamb’s outstanding contributions by nominating him for the Illinois Adult and Continuing Educators Associations’ Student of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in February.

While preparing for his GED, Lamb also participated in the Learning Skills Center’s Transition Skills Class. The course assists students as they transition from GED classes to college courses or the job market. The class covers a variety of topics from applying for financial aid and taking the COMPASS Test to resume writing and career planning. The class also assists students with setting goals.

“The transition class set me on a goal and gave me the idea of working for the state highway department,” Lamb said. “I learned what classes I needed to take. I did job searches and found out what the pay and benefits were. It set me on this path.”

Lamb said he especially appreciated the assistance Instructor Maranda Tate provided.

“She really helped me with information about what I needed to do to work for the state,” he said.

After completing his GED in September 2013, Lamb enrolled in truck-driving classes at Wabash Valley College. With financial assistance from the Embarras River Basin Agency, Inc., he was able to finish his studies and earn his CDL.

Lamb recently completed a civil service exam, which is required for state employees. While he hopes to eventually work full-time with the Illinois Department of Transportation, he has applied for a temporary position assisting with snow removal.

In the meantime, Lamb is working for Prime, Inc. He joined the trucking company after completing its training program, which required him to drive 30,000 miles across 37 states. His schedule will remain flexible so he can work for IDOT this winter.

Lamb encourages others without a high school diploma to enroll in GED classes at OCC.

“It was very thorough,” he said of the GED program. “It really helped to prepare me and everyone was great.”

OCC will offer free GED test preparation classes from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Jan. 13. The classes include a general review of test subjects and the books are free. Eight-week daytime classes start Jan. 12 and include math, reading, science, social studies, English and the Constitution.

To register or for more information, call 618-395-7777, ext. 2267, or toll-free 1-866-622-4322.

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