Adults can earn

The first graduates of the Jamestown Community College Career Advantage cohort program in May are (from left) Ryan Merritt, Rebecca Pockalny, Jennifer Whiteman, Becky Jordan and Megan Skinner.

OLEAN — For the adult who is balancing work obligations and family commitments, but wants to attend college to earn an associate degree in two years, the solution can be found with the Jamestown Community College Career Advantage program.

The program, which recently awarded associate degrees to its first group of cohort graduates, will host an information session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at JCC’s College Center, Room 124, on North Union Street. The event is open to all interested individuals.

Bridget Johnson, JCC community relations coordinator, said Career Advantage students attend classes one night a week and supplement their classroom meetings with online instruction. She said associate degrees in applied science can be obtained through the program in business administration, early childhood education, health information technology and human services.

“We know that returning to school as an adult is a big decision,” said Elizabeth Booth, Career Advantage coordinator. “The Career Advantage program was built specifically for adult learners, with a clearly defined schedule and a supportive learning environment to make it easier for students to acclimate.”

Career Advantage is recommended for individuals who are more comfortable with a group of adult students who are not coming directly from high school; who are self-motivated and able to manage time well; and are in the workforce and prefer the convenience of night classes and online coursework.

The program is also recommended for those who need flexibility while caring for one’s family; or are interested in online learning, but still want the support of face-to-face classes.

“We make advisement, registration, financial aid and other processes run smoothly for adult students without the hassle that can accompany starting and finishing a degree,” Booth added. “Adult students want to focus on their coursework, not the enrollment process.”

It was noted that a blend of courses provide Career Advantage students with skills that can be put to immediate use in the workplace or as credits for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Johnson said Becky Jordan, Rebecca Pockalny, Megan Skinner and Jennifer Whiteman of Olean and Ryan Merritt of Little Genesee, graduated from JCC’s Olean campus in May and were members of the first Career Advantage cohort to graduate.

She said all five graduates earned an associate’s degree in business administration.

The students were taught in a cohort model and met and worked with adults who were pursuing a college degree while balancing work and personal commitments.

“They take the same courses and support each other throughout the program,” Johnson said of the cohort program.

For more information on the program, visit the website

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)