Learning for Life

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May 30, 2001

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — So you're stuck in a job and you want to change careers or maybe you want to advance at work but you just don't have the education. It's a predicament more and more adults face these days.

Two years ago, Debbie Dyer hit a wall. She no longer wanted to work as an office manager but she needed more than the associates degree she had. “I knew I didn't want to be a secretary the rest of my life, but I did have to figure out what I wanted to be and nobody could tell me that. I had to find that out myself.” 

Ms. Dyer, a mother in her mid-forties, began taking night classes here at Johnson Bible College, often squeezing in homework during her lunch hour. She paid for most of her education with grants and in August she will get her degree in leadership and ministry. “It's a juggling act. I mean constantly figuring out where you are supposed to be one day and what you are supposed to do but it keeps my mind alive and going,” says Dyer. 

On Wednesday Debbie was awarded for mastering that juggling act by the East Tennesee College Alliance (ETCA), a group made up of 10 local accredited universities and colleges with programs that cater to life-long learners like Debbie.

Ms. Dyer plans on chasing her next dream next year when she'll be going after a masters in marriage and family therapy. She says if she can do it, you can too. “Dream and dream big and just go for it. There are no boundaries except for the boundaries you put on yourself.”

The East Tennessee College Alliance also works as a referral service for adult learners. If one of the member colleges doesn't have the program you're looking for, they'll refer you to another member college that does.

ETCA Member Institutions

For more information you can also call 974-5367.

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