Night program beneficial
July 12, 2016
When Erich Spranger started the path to further his education, he overcame anxiety in understanding how he would juggle shift-work and attend classes at LBW Community College.
He and wife, Dominque, moved to Andalusia about nine years ago from Battle Creek, Mich., where he first thought of pursing a college degree at a local community college.
“I wanted to go back to school to improve my employment opportunities,” he said.
“Where I grew up in Michigan, the community college was about the size of Troy (University). I applied, but it was such a big school and I didn’t know how they would work with me.”
Then they decided to move south for better weather and a better environment in which to raise children, he said.
After moving to Andalusia, he started working at Shaw Industries as an operator of equipment turning plastic pellets into string yarn. He still wanted to pursue an education but was hesitant in applying to LBWCC because of the shift work.
“I was the only one in my family working at the time. I worked shift-work at Shaw and when I was off, I was working part-time with Harold’s Furniture. I knew I would be missing some classes.”
After finally making the decision, he applied, took the placement assessment, and met with the counselor, still not sure exactly how working and attending classes would fit together.
Then he found out about LBWCC’s night program, which started about three years ago and is designed to better fit the needs of working adults, according to John Bess, LBWCC division chair for business, information technology, and social science.
“We developed the night program specifically to help people just like Erich by structuring course schedules in such a way that, if they commit to classes two nights a week, they could complete a degree in two years,” he said.
“The majority are hybrid courses, which have both on-campus and online components,” said Bess. “There is also one to two online courses each semester.”
The structure worked well for Spranger, who decided to take summers off and extend the time to complete his degree.
“The way the night courses worked was, even though I worked night shift, I could still go to class and leave class to go to work,” he said.
He was able to complete all the general study courses required for his degree through the night program, and attended on-site classes at LBWCC in Opp for the electronics courses.
“Some of the courses were all online, which greatly benefited me. If I missed classes, I would go on Fridays to make up the work. The faculty would work with me on times.”
While working full-time and part-time jobs, he maintained good grades and achieved an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Industrial Electronics, participating in this year’s commencement ceremony.
He encourages others who may be hesitant to get started on higher education to learn more about LBWCC’s night program.
“Don’t be afraid to go back to school because you work,” he said. “There are programs and LBW is there to help you in any way possible to accomplish your goal.”
For more information, call 334-222-6591.