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Penny Wacaster headshot

Penny Wacaster

Director of College and Career Readiness & Human Resources Development

College and Career Readiness

Do you need to increase your skills in writing, reading, math, computer literacy or communication? If so, we can help you develop your skills in these areas. Due to any number of reasons, from disabilities to challenging life circumstances, you may find yourself needing help with basic academic skills needed to create the future you want.

Perhaps your goal is completing adult high school or obtaining the equivalent of a high school degree. Or, you might want to prepare yourself to advance in your job with additional training or to enroll in college classes to earn a degree. Whatever your goals, McDowell Tech is here to help you!

You can register for Career and College Readiness classes at any scheduled orientation held at NC Works/Ford Miller Employment and Training Center located at 316 Baldwin Avenue in Marion, and you can attend classes convenient to your schedule. All classes are fee-waived, and texts are provided for in-class use in the below CCR programs.

Adult Basic Education (ABE) is a program of instruction designed for adults who function below the high school level and geared toward those with IDD* (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities). Instruction is offered in reading, writing, math, science, oral and written communication, and technology, according to the North Carolina Adult Education Standards. ABE offers consistent and intensive contextualized classroom instruction which meets these requirements with a focus on career exploration and workforce preparation. All students enrolled in our ABE program have the right to a positive learning environment where they may achieve their educational goals. *Students must be mobile and able to take care of their personal needs.”

These programs are FREE and open to adults aged 18 and older.

Classes meet Monday to Friday, 8:45am to 2:30pm.

Registration and Assessments in Reading are required to attend.

Contact our office for more information about enrollment.

McDowell Technical Community College
College and Career Readiness (CCR) Program
316 Baldwin Avenue, Marion NC 28752

CCR Coordinator: Ed King 828-659-6001, ext 160
CCR Director: Penny Wacaster 828-659-6001, ext 137


The Adult High School Diploma program consists of classroom instruction, learning laboratory courses, distance education, or a combination of instructional methods which deliver the course objectives required to earn an Adult High School Diploma.

The AHS Diploma Program is offered cooperatively with the local public school system to help adults earn an Adult High School Diploma. Diplomas are issued cooperatively by the community college and the local public school system. Official transcripts are maintained and issued by MTCC.

Required Credits – Colleges must offer at least the minimum number of credits required for graduation by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Electives are selected from a variety of program offerings and structured so that students develop a range of skills which qualify them to succeed in the labor market or to enter technical, vocational, or college transfer programs. There is no cost to students for courses. However, a minimal graduation fee may be required.

For more information, see Adult High School.

The High School Equivalency Diploma program offers instruction to assist learners in preparing to successfully pass a designated high school equivalency test. This test is designed to document knowledge and skills equivalent to that of a graduating high school senior. A high school equivalency diploma is issued from the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges upon successful completion of the complete battery of tests.

For more information, visit High School Equivalency

ELA class will help students improve written and oral English skills for home or the workplace. The class meets in-person but online options may be available. If desired, the student can improve skills to further their education by obtaining a high school diploma or attend MTCC college classes.

Call NCWorks for more information, 828-659-6001, ext 160

Integrated English literacy and civics education are education services provided to English language learners who are adults, including professionals with degrees and credentials in their native countries, that enables such adults to achieve competency in the English language and acquire the basic and more advanced skills needed to function effectively as parents, workers, and citizens in the United States.

Services include instruction in literacy and English language acquisition and instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation, and may include workforce training. Students may register at any ELA class.

All classes are offered at a variety of times and locations.

For more information, contact the Director of College and Career Readiness at 828-659-6001 ext. 137 or check the current list of classes by clicking on the link below. Those interested in attending an orientation can sign-up by calling 828-659-6001 ext. 160. 

If you want to learn English, please call 828-659-6001 extension 153.  Si, quieres aprender ingles, por favor llama 828-659-6001 extencion 153.

CCR Schedule