Instructor shortage impacting adult education and literacy

Schools and colleges across the nation are feeling the impact of teacher shortages as the nation’s education systems recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The College and Career Readiness department at Sandhills Community College finds itself balancing the same shortages with the need to provide adult basic education services to adults in need of a high school equivalency diploma or improve their basic English language skills to be employable.

“Adult basic education is part of the workforce development arena,” says Nicole Worley, director of College and Career Readiness at Sandhills. “Without a high school diploma or its equivalent, people face huge barriers in obtaining jobs with family-sustaining wages. Individuals need to have the opportunity to enroll in higher education to become employed with competitive wages,” says Worley.

Interest in Sandhill’s free College and Career Readiness classes has grown while the program has had a decline in instructors over the last two years. Day and evening classes are held in Pinehurst, Robbins, and Raeford.

Deb Sikes, a coordinator at the Sandhills Hoke Center in Raeford, experiences the challenge of finding instructors who have a passion for helping adults most in need of basic education and literacy skills. College and Career Readiness (CCR) instructors at Sandhills work part-time. “Our most immediate needs are Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency, and English Language Acquisition instructors,” says Sikes.

“We are fortunate to work for a community college that has the students’ and communities’ needs as their top priority. Our leadership values employees who carry out the mission of providing quality learning and a true sense of belonging at each campus.

“As most educators would say, teachers don’t go into teaching for the money. They have a passion for helping others, and that passion is continuously charged when they see their students succeed. Such success is gratifying in the CCR program, where you help change lives, one student at a time. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than seeing an adult student change the direction of their and their family’s lives,” says Sikes.

Adult education instructors come from various backgrounds; therefore, training and credentialing opportunities are provided. “We try to foster a team culture in CCR, where our teachers work together to support and learn from one another,” Sikes shared. “We know this creates the kind of support our students need to be successful.”

College and Career Readiness serves over 400 students per year throughout Moore and Hoke counties. The program offers Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency, English Language Acquisition, and US Citizenship classes — all free of charge to students.

For those with a passion for changing lives through education, please apply for the “Year-Round Application Pool – College and Career Readiness Instructor (Basic Skills), Continuing Education” position found from the “Employment” link at

For more information about the Adult Basic Education and High School Equivalency programs in Moore County, contact Beckie Kimbrell at [email protected] or 910-695-3779; for Hoke County, contact Deb Sikes at [email protected] or 910-848-4300. For information about English Language Acquisition classes, contact Isabel Cain at [email protected] or 910-246-4975. To complete an online orientation request form, visit

Feature photo of Sandhills Community College by John Patota/Sandhills Sentinel.



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