<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=341153139571737&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
CAEL Pathways Blog

Q&A With CAEL: Adult Learner Edris D. Mitchell, Advancing Delta Talent Participant

In late 2022, CAEL received a U.S. Department of Labor Grant through the Delta Regional Authority focused on improving equity in high-demand education and career pathways in the Mississippi River Delta region. The funding, totaling nearly $1.4 million, resulted in Advancing Delta Talent (ADT). ADT is a partnership among CAEL, community colleges, high schools, and regional employers to align education and employment and better serve adult learners and other underrepresented students.

One of those adult learners is Edris D. Mitchell, and one of those partners is Coahoma Community College. Mitchell finished the Coahoma Community College EMT program last fall, which also marked the completion of ADT’s first year. Highlighting a student success story from ADT partner institution Coahoma Community College, below is a Q&A with Mitchell.

What is your name?

Edris D. Mitchell

What school did you attend and what program did you complete?

Coahoma Community College (CCC), I graduated from the EMT Program on November 28, 2023. 

Do you consider yourself to be an adult learner? What is your current age range?

Yes, I am 50 years old.

How did you learn about the ADT program?

When I became unemployed, I went to the unemployment office and they informed me about the Advancing Delta Talent (ADT) program. They (the unemployment office) had a program that covered tuition at CCC but I did not qualify for the program because I don’t have any dependents. I was sent to Ms. Joyce at CCC (Joyce Hill, ADT career navigator at Coahoma Community College) and she got me enrolled in ADT and helped me register for classes. 

What was your experience like with the ADT career navigator at Coahoma Community College? 

Working with Ms. Joyce was amazing. She shared information with me about the ADT program and followed up with me to make sure I got all of my information in to get signed up.

What inspired you to pursue this career and why now?

I found myself unemployed and recently out of a domestic violence situation. I felt like this was the perfect time to do it. I gave myself a time frame – two years – to reach my goal. And hey! It only took me six months to complete my goal! I also had recently lost my mom and was experiencing homelessness during this time. I actually went and earned my CNA to support my mom after she had back surgery because I wanted to be able to take care of her. So I already had a CNA credential and I wanted EMT to be my next step. 

After meeting Ms. Joyce, she helped push me to pursue my career as well. She provided encouragement and constantly provided me with reassurance that I could complete the EMT program. Ms. Joyce became my cheerleader, and the other people on the CCC team that I connected with were also able to encourage me along my journey. They all stood in the gap and encouraged me in place of my mom, who had been my number-one cheerleader. 

Everyone who started with me in my cohort did not finish. There were 14 students who started, but only six of us completed the program.

In what ways did the ADT program impact your experience while completing your credential?

The ADT program was extremely helpful. First, it connected me with people who were in my corner to help me, people like Ms. Joyce and a few others on the CCC team. ADT also covered my tuition, uniform, and books. When I found myself struggling with some of the concepts in the class, Ms. Joyce was able to connect me with tutoring as well. 

In what ways do you believe the ADT program has the ability to impact other (current or future) adult learners?

ADT helps support adult learners by encouraging them and letting them know it’s never too late to start a new career. Also, they provide funding for you to pursue your degree, and it makes things a lot easier when you know you don’t have to worry about paying for it. This program helps adult learners know they can have something to look forward to in the future, in spite of life’s setbacks. 

How will this credential impact your career trajectory? Are you currently employed in your career field? What impact has this had on you and your family? 

The EMT certification will advance my career and increase my earning potential. Right now I am working as a CNA, but as soon as I pass my national certification test, I plan to work as a private EMT. 

Obtaining this certification has helped me believe in myself again. I am so proud of myself!

What advice would you share with other adults who are considering going to school but are hesitant to start a program? 

Do it for yourself so you can provide for yourself and be more stable on your own. If I can do it, you can do it! Get connected with other adults who have done it as well. 

What are some best practices you developed to set yourself up for success while completing your credential? 

I made sure I had set times to study, I arrived to school early so I could have time to get work done before class started, and I believed in myself and trusted God.

Do you have anything else you would like to share? 

I am extremely focused on my future and I am diligent. I give honor to God for blessing me to get where I am today in spite of all I’ve gone through in the past. In my free time, I like to write poetry to express my gratitude for life’s blessings. 

Subscribe by email