College Spotlight

Meeting Adult Learners Where They Are

September 14, 2023

Achieving the Dream

Lorain County Community College (LCCC) is embedded in an Ohio region experiencing the impacts of poverty and the promise of economic mobility. Though LCCC has existed since 1963, the college has found that many prospective adult learners in the area are not aware of its accessible pathways to a postsecondary credential or the benefits of acquiring one. To address this issue, the college reaches these prospective learners by sending a small, dedicated team of adult learner outreach associates into the community to build trust and relationships with local adults, businesses, and partners.

Spotlight Feature

LCCC’s adult learner outreach associates prioritize cultivating lasting relationships to guide potential adult learners from initial interest to successful program enrollment and completion. These three dedicated personnel actively engage with the community, fostering a supportive postsecondary ecosystem tailored for adult learners. Through these intentional efforts, LCCC bridges the gap between aspiring adult learners and their educational goals.

Lessons Learned

  • Connecting local adults to the campus through proactive and personalized outreach eases the pathway to postsecondary credentials.
  • Developing certificates that support local employers’ workforce needs creates bridges to employment and attracts adult learners to the college’s programs.
  • Adult outreach associates help the college understand more about this target population.
  • The college has a greater capacity to recruit adults without a high school equivalency (or GED) by supporting their pursuit of a postsecondary credential.

Implementation Tips

Adult learner outreach associates meet potential learners where they are by going to them with relevant resources and information.

Meet with Adult Learners to Understand Their Needs

Spend time in the community having conversations with potential adult learners to understand their motivations and identify barriers to program enrollment.

Expect to Spend Significant Time Networking

Relationships with local employers and nonprofits create an accessible postsecondary ecosystem for learners, an essential part of the outreach role.

Identify Outreach Priorities

Informed by deep community knowledge, associates should steward their resources by prioritizing the most effective ways to engage with target populations and larger groups of adults.

The Messenger is as Important as the Message

Adult outreach associates who come from communities that the institution has historically underserved can connect with potential learners in that population in authentic ways and bring community knowledge to the college’s outreach work.



Increase in participation from Black and Latinx males at the college offering free postsecondary and career prep

Next Steps

  1. Continue creatively engaging the community through events like prayer breakfasts.
  2. Embed associates within the community to keep in close contact with current and prospective learners.
  3. Communicate financial support options to local adults region-wide.