Free Adult Education Classes Begin Sept. 8

Free Adult Education Classes Begin Sept. 8

Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 8 for 27,000 adult education students at San Diego Continuing Education’s six San Diego campuses.  Noncredit classes are available at no cost, including online options.  Certificate programs are offered for numerous industries including: Automotive Technician, Child Development, Culinary Arts, Nursing Assistant training, Professional Bakeshop Skills, and Plumbing.  Classes are free because San Diego Continuing Education is part of the California system of higher education.


This semester, Continuing Education opens its new César E. Chávez Campus in Barrio Logan.  The $50-million, 67,924-square-foot building will house 22 classrooms for vocational training, English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, high school equivalency preparation courses, Business Information Technology, and Parent Education.  A grand opening ceremony for the César E. Chávez campus is planned for Oct. 28.

Also new for the fall semester is Continuing Education’s new president, Dr. Carlos O. Turner Cortez, a longtime educational leader with an unwavering commitment to social justice.  Dr. Cortez came to San Diego from Berkeley City College, where he has served as Acting Vice President of Instruction and Dean of Academic Pathways, Workforce Development, and Student Success.


SDCE is one the most diverse adult education institutions in the United States with about 34 percent of students describing themselves as Latino, 8 percent African American, 14 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 2 percent Filipino, and 32 percent White.  In addition, the majority of students are over 40 years old and two-thirds of Continuing Education students are female.

With its strong emphasis on ESL and citizenship classes, it’s not a surprise that many Continuing Education students come from countries outside the United States.  In fact, one half of the students attending classes in the spring 2014 semester indicated the United States as their country of origin (13,294 students), but the other 50% come from 151 countries, including thousands of students from Mexico, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines; and as few as one or two students represent countries such as Gambia, Madagascar, Norway, Rwanda and Monaco.


SDCE has been recognized as a state leader in providing adult education that helps students transition to college.  The faculty and staff support and counsel students who are looking to further education after they complete a high school diploma or equivalency, or a Job Training/Certificate Program that leads to higher education such as an AA degree.  In fact, Continuing Education is de facto the largest feeder high school to our colleges in San Diego – about 1,500 students annually make the transition. 

Scholarships are available to assist students.  “Receiving a scholarship is a significant recognition,” said Dr. Brian Ellison, Vice President for Instruction and Student Services at SDCE. “In many cases the award will help students continue higher education at City, Mesa or Miramar College.”

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San Diego Continuing Education is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District.  SDCE was one of the first continuing education institutions in California to meet the standards for independent accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.  More than 40,000 students are served per academic year at six campuses in San Diego.  Noncredit classes are available at no cost, including online options.  Learn more at

B-roll video of Continuing Education: