CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Northeast Ohio initiative that was created to empower women seeking a better life for themselves and their families is now going virtual.
The "Women in Transition" program at Cuyahoga Community College has been around for more than four decades.
"You know, perfect storm. COVID happened and the college moved everything online. But honestly, we always considered different methods, different ways to expand the program, so this was kind of just the perfect opportunity so we can reach more women and make it a viable option for women in various stages of transition," said Cicely Campbell.
Cicely Campbell is the director for the "Women in Transition" program at Cuyahoga Community College. The program helps women going through different challenges in life such as divorce or career changes. The women go to classes for six weeks — and while they don't earn college credits — they do garner valuable life experiences and skills instead.
"So, we do personal development — like a soft skill building. So time management, stress management. We talk about various learning styles. But we also talk about who is in our support system, who do we need to add to our support system, and then who do we need to take away from our support system,” she said.
Campbell said the women who participate come from all different backgrounds and age ranges. In fact, she said the oldest woman to complete the course was 98 years old! Despite their differences, Campbell said the women develop a bond that helps them as they work toward their goals.
"So, the younger women will help the older women, like with technology. The older women give the younger women like life advice because they have all this wisdom," said Campbell.
Traci Dickerson recently graduated from the "Women in Transition" program at "Tri-C," as the college is commonly known.
Dickerson said she was hesitant to enroll in the program, but now that she’s done, she’s proud of where the journey led her.
“I enrolled in school. I have taken two classes in the culinary arts program. And I was on the dean's list. After 20-plus years of not going to school, I was on the dean's list. So, I’m very excited about that," said alumna Traci Dickerson.
Registration is currently underway for classes that will begin in August, and for any woman deciding whether or not to give it a try, Dickerson has these words of encouragement:
"Take that leap. Be brave. You’ll end up a better person. Don’t be afraid. Push through your fear and make something happen for yourself."
Cuyahoga Community College officials hope the switch to online classes opens the program to women who may not have participated in the past because they couldn't attend in person.
While a computer is needed to take the course, the college says those who want to enroll in this summer's session should still contact the school to see what resources may be available to them.
The last day to register for the "Women in Transition" courses at Cuyahoga Community College is July 31. You can either visit Tri-C’s website or call the college to enroll for the free program.