TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The College of Southern Idaho is getting more people involved in Community College Month, with an open house showcasing some of their programs in the Innovation and Success Center.
Around 43% of all the students at the College of Southern Idaho in the 2019-2020 school year were defined as first-generation students. For many of them, navigating through the unknown waters of a post-secondary education system can be a struggle.
As part of Community College month, CSI is getting the community involved and inviting them inside the Innovation and Success center where their Bridge to Success program primarily serves first-generation students and underrepresented minorities.
Jerry Alania, a first-generation and full-time CSI student studying engineering, said he has overcome a lot of obstacles throughout his lifetime before getting to CSI.
“I just had to go through a lot of stuff," said Alania. “A lot of high school struggles to get here, but I'm here now. I just kind of got confused with all the registration and all the college credits you have to take and that was kind of a disadvantage for us.”
Students with experiences similar to Jerry Alania are seen at the Innovation and Success Center often.
“They are kind of relying on us to be out there, being the first generation and to set the example for other people to follow."
More than 125 students are currently going through the Bridge to Success program, which is designed to help any type of student find support along their way to their goals — getting the G.E.D, diploma, or getting into the workforce.
“Sometimes they get here and they are just unsure of why they are here,” said Bridge to Success Coordinator Rosey Alberdi. “They don’t know how to put those words together to ask the right questions. They don’t have that confidence and so the program with Bridge and everything we do in the center is focused on them.”
The community is invited to the open house at CSI’s Innovation and Success Center Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. This is an opportunity for the community to come to get more information regarding their programs, such as College and Career Readiness (ABE and GED), Idaho Job Corps, and the Bridge to Success program.
“I feel that community colleges are one of those last resorts, but I think it should be the first resort. Said Alberdi. “I think it should be one of the first things that a lot of students coming to high school and adult learners should be talking about.”