Office Tech completer gains confidence to pursue degree in early childhood education

Straight out of high school and looking for something to do next, Melika Simms of East St. Louis turned to the SWIC Adult Basic Education Office Technology program.

She signed up for the program in 2011. "I was bored and looking for something to do," she said. " I saw a flier for the program and went and signed up for a couple of classes."

As part of the Office Technology program, she learned keyboarding and word processing at the East St. Louis Community College Center. In addition, she learned key computer applications and built a portfolio to take on job interviews.

"Those classes were very helpful. I wasn't computer savvy," she said.

The classes did something else as well. Successful completion of those noncredit vocational courses gave her the confidence to continue her education, she noted.

Today, she's pursuing an Associate in Applied Science degree in early childhood education. She's now just three or four classes away from graduating. 

The soon-to-be 23-year-old is leaning toward becoming a day care facility operator, a teacher or perhaps, a child psychologist. She'd like to take more psychology classes and see what happens, she says.

For Simms, the Adult Basic Education classes offered a steppingstone to her future. She'd encourage anyone to jump head first into these classes. "The teachers really help you out. It is a good steppingstone for anyone to go back to school," she said.

If you think you might like to check out free Adult Basic Education vocational classes and programs, call 618-235-2700, ext. 5525, or visit