State applauds Tolles’ adult education courses


(Posted Sept. 11, 2023)

Tolles Career & Technical Center might be best known for its pre-career curriculum for high school students, but it is also a hub of adult education courses that recently earned the school state recognition.

On Aug. 17, Tolles officially received Ohio Technical Center (OTC) recognition from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, putting it on par with other institutes of higher learning across the state.

“The biggest thing is that we’re now recognized as a post-secondary institution in the state of Ohio, like any technical college or community college or even a four-year college,” says Kevin Prenger, director of adult education for Tolles. “That provides opportunities for state subsidies and other benefits for our adult learners.”

Dr. Todd Hoadley, Tolles superintendent, added, “As an OTC, we don’t provide credited courses like a college or university would, but we provide skill-based and industry-recognized credentials and certifications.

“We work with our business partners to identify the skills and credentials they want, and we provide courses and programs to teach those. There is a huge need in our community to up-skill workers to meet changing workforce demands.”

In addition to being industry-driven, the adult education courses offered at Tolles are designed to be shorter than a degree-driven program and less expensive.

“Our niche is adults looking to gain some new skills to get a better paying job as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible,” Prenger says. “Our programs last anywhere from 30 days to a year–considerably shorter than a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. And we’re developing the curriculum based on workforce data–jobs that are already in demand or are trending up and have high-paying jobs tied to them. After all, there’s no sense in someone spending money to come train with us if there’s no job on the other end.”

Tolles offers seven adult education programs in areas including:

● healthcare, specifically leading to a State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) certification;

● public safety, either as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or two different levels of firefighting;

● welding, specifically using the metal arc technique;

● multi-craft maintenance, including inspecting, installing, maintaining and repairing equipment;

● robotics, specifically how to operate, program, and troubleshoot manufacturing FANUC robots; and

● control system training, featuring Allen Bradley Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC).

These courses aren’t just for mid-career adults, either, Hoadley says. Recent high school graduates can also enroll and reap the benefits.

“There are a lot of high school students who go off to college, and it just doesn’t work out for them,” he says. “This gives them a new opportunity to gain valuable skills in several high-demand fields.”

Having the OTC designation also brings Tolles a step closer to national accreditation.

“The OTC status opens up a lot of doors, not just for us, but for our adult learners,” Prenger says. “We’re heading in the right direction to meet the needs of our central Ohio employers, as well as our adult learners in the community.”

To learn more about adult education programs at Tolles, visit or call (614) 873-4666.

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