MANSFIELD — As a longtime Mansfield employer closes its doors, former employees are seeing new ones open for them at Mansfield Adult Education. 

“I’m taking this as an opportunity to better myself and finally get this done” says one Mansfield Adult Education student, Craig, who is pursuing his high school equivalency.

Craig was employed at Therm-O-Disc for more than 20 years and would consider that life the only one he’s known.

Craig admitted, “I became complacent,” as anyone would in that amount of time.

In 2020, Therm-O-Disc announced that their manufacturing operation would be phasing out and Craig was left in one of the last phases — employed longer than others. 

“Our jobs are our livelihood and when you work somewhere as long as I did and they close, it is so easy to become overwhelmed by the change and the unknown,” he said.

But Craig proves to be doing the opposite, instead of letting this life change get him down, he is using it to his advantage, as motivation to finally get his GED. 

“I used to be ashamed of not having it, but not anymore,” says Craig, who wishes he had finished school earlier in life but recognizes that it’s never too late and that now may even be a better time because it can be a priority for him.

In fact, that’s what he likes most about coming to Mansfield Adult Education – most of the students are in the same or a similar situation.

“I enjoy coming here more than I expected to because being with the other students has been great,” he said. “I was afraid that everyone would be much younger than me, people doing it when I should have 20 years ago but they aren’t, there’s a good mix and that makes for a good environment in the classroom.”

If there’s one piece of advice that Craig can give, it’s “don’t put it off.”

“Just get it done,” he said. “Don’t wait until you’re in a spot where you have to get it done, get it done when you can. Since I’ve been in class it feels like my mind is waking back up and it feels good to be proud of myself.”

Craig is a longtime resident of Mansfield with his wife and their young daughter – who he proudly explained are his “entire world” on the first day of class at Mansfield Adult Education.

After passing all four sections of the GED and graduating, Craig plans to use his credentials to begin another career that he can grow in – which he said with excitement as he explained he wants more than a “job.” 

If you are interested in obtaining your GED or high school equivalency call Mansfield Adult Education at 419-525-6380 or visit their website for more information.

Mansfield Adult Education is federally-funded through the Ohio Aspire grant and is fiscally managed by Mansfield City Schools, serving students in Richland, Ashland, and Crawford Counties.