Hudson County Community College Has Fun Learning for All
We visited with Carmen at HCCC's Winter Wonderland Cookie family class for adults and youth. They created beautiful and delicious snowmen, snowflakes, mittens, and so much more out of cookie dough, and then learned how to decorate them using a royal icing recipe!
What do you do?
I am Carmen Guerra and I work at Hudson County Community College (HCCC), Department of Community Education as the Personal Enrichment Coordinator with the Youth and Culinary Programs. The Community Education department leads community oriented, personal enrichment and professional development classes that are non-credit, open to the public, accessible and affordable. Our offerings also include personal enrichment, english as a second language, life-long learning, professional and career development, business and entrepreneurship, computer proficiency, youth on campus, and test prep.
Who do you do it for?
learn as much or as little as you like
The courses we offer are for anyone! That's the beauty. You don't have to be a student or enrolled at HCCC. They're for anyone from age 3 and up who's interested in taking part in a fun activity who wants to learn in a casual social setting. We even have repeat students just because they're interested in expanding more of their skills, but you can learn as much or as little as you like. We're also very flexible with programming scheduled during mornings, afternoons, evenings and even on weekends. Participants may take classes, workshops or certificate and training programs in person or online.
Why do you do it?
I'm excited about what we're doing because we're flexible, accessible, and there to help the people. I get to work and help my community, children, and adults... and have fun while doing it! It was incredibly important for me to find something that would allow me to utilize the skills I have obtained throughout the years as well as somehow do something for the community I have grown to love and care for and for people in general. When this position was presented to me, it couldn’t had been a better fit for what I was searching for. Plus, as part time work, I can still make time for my passion as a Designer of my own hand made leather goods line.
How did you start?
A close friend works at HCCC and heard that they were looking for someone for this position and immediately thought of me, called me, and I was hired the week after. As a mom to my wonderful 10 year old son, Kaivan, and a small business owner, I'm always out in the community, so the transition was a natural fit for me.
What makes it unique?
one-stop place incredible classes
We're a one-stop place for taking incredible classes here and throughout the community! From how to buy real-estate, making pasta from scratch at one of our state of the art Culinary Kitchens in our Journal Square location, and doing sign language for babies, to $9 workshops held in downtown for kids ages 3-6 who learn through art. Plus, the Journal Square PATH train is literally right next door in the same block. No matter where they're held, we make our offerings affordable for a wide variety of community members. And if you have fun taking any of our workshops and want to take your learning to the next level, many have for-credit versions you can explore right through HCCC.
Our Journal Square facility features aspects like a world class, state of the art culinary school right here in Jersey City. But our community business partnership is also something we offer that you really don't find often. For example, we work with developers like Charles & Co and locations like the Speranza Theater Company to offer classes throughout the community. Our business partnership is at very little cost to the businesses, makes our programming more accessible, and something we promote to all of our past students.
What do you love about it?
I get to create and attend fun workshops such as this one, Winter Wonderland Cookies as well as events throughout the neighborhood to network and promote the courses we offer here at the college. I also love to be able to be of some assistance to my community. In my department we also offer ESL Classes and I am fluent in Spanish. Sometimes we get people in the office that don’t speak a word of English and it feels good to finally be somewhere where I can guide them and make a difference in their lives.
How do you / does it make learning awesome?
Our classes are "no pressure" – my motto is to help make learning fun! When I was younger, I did many of my years of schooling without being truly happy because the focus of school is often about getting credits. But to me that's not all learning is about... it's also about enjoying the experience, receiving guidance, and being given the chance to explore new things just because we're interested. Since our HCCC Community Education classes are non-credit, you take them because you truly want to try something new and have fun doing it. When people finish our classes, I get so many e-mails of people telling me how exciting it was or how much fun they had learning. I believe that if we're more open to learning when we're happy doing it, which is a large part of why our CE classes are not about college or credits. Come with an open mind and be ready for some fun!
Anything else you’d like to share?
We offer many different kinds of classes and workshops throughout the year for children as young as 3 years old, led by Speranza Theater Company, and workshops for people as old as 100 yrs old! ;o) We also offer some really cool summer programs/ camps for the youth. If you have any questions regarding these programs or any other classes, please contact me at the number below.