Carol Poole, a Get Caught recipient, smiles at the camera.

Meet Carol Poole

Carol Poole is a program instructor for the Adult Education Program at Denso Manufacturing. Denso partnered with BCVision’s GED taskforce and Battle Creek Public Schools to offer employees a chance to earn their General Education Degree (GED).

Carol earned her GED in the 1970s. She went on to college and received a teaching certificate in elementary and special education. She also has a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Over the years, Carol has worked as a teacher and even had her own private practice. She then came out of retirement to continue pursuing her passion in education.

Helping Students Succeed

As a program instructor, Carol helps assess each student’s skills individually and then creates a plan for them to reach their goal of earning a GED or high school equivalency. She then teaches the curriculum. Carol even administers the tests that students must pass to earn their degrees. In addition to the academic portion, the students also learn soft skills which help them become better employees.

Carol goes above and beyond when it comes to helping students succeed and reach their goals. She meets students where they are and lets them learn at their own pace. She’s willing to work with students one-on-one and on weekends. She even provides snacks at her lessons!

Carol strives to change the perspective about learning. She believes education should be fun and exciting. She tells her students, “If you’re not having fun, I’m doing it wrong.” Her sense of humor and compassion helps her build relationships and figure out each student’s learning style.

Carol says the fear of failure can sometimes hold students back. She believes that with grit and commitment, anyone can earn their GED, no matter how long it takes. “The first step is the hardest and if you can dream it, we can help you do it,” Carol said.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Getting a GED can help elevate and enrich students’ lives in many ways. Carol believes it has a ripple effect, but it begins with education. She says education builds pride and self-esteem. As people develop a sense of pride in themselves, they also begin to develop a sense of pride in where they live.

The Adult Education Program at Denso Manufacturing impacts the lives of the students but also the lives of their children, grandchildren and eventually the community as a whole.

Many students come in with the goal to just get their GEDs. Over time, the students learn the value of education and that leads to curiosity and interest in other things like politics, financial literacy, skill trades, pursuing a college degree, etc. Carol’s goal is for the program to grow and encompass all the manufacturing companies in the Fort Custer area, so that employees at each company have this opportunity to earn their GED. “The more the program grows, the more lives we change,” Carol said.

The Best Part

Carol says the best part of her position is working with her team and the students she serves. Carol loves the relationships she builds with the students.

Getting her GED changed Carol’s life. “[Adult Education] is my passion, and I think it’s because I’m a GED grad, and I know all the doors that it opens to life.” Carol says she feels privileged to be a part of the students’ journey and success and she appreciates that they remember her down the line. Many students have reached out to her after graduation to thank her for helping them reach their goal. 

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Nominate someone today by emailing us at Make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Cherise Buchanan, Priscilla Dieguez, and so many more!




Addressing the GED Gap

We believe that in order for our community to thrive, everyone needs to have access to job training that will prepare them to confidently enter and succeed in the workforce.

To achieve this goal, our action teams have been hard at work assessing our community’s needs and making strides to address them. That’s why we’ve created a GED Taskforce to help combat the education gap in our community.

geds in battle creek

Back in 2017, the Large Business Action Team identified that not having a General Education Degree (GED) was a barrier for people in our community who wanted to enter and succeed in the workforce. In fact, about 14% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 in Calhoun County hadn’t graduated high school, and over 6,000 people over 25 hadn’t either.

Statistics in 2017 dictated that someone who didn’t have a GED would earn about $8,500 less annually than someone who did. Despite that, only 744 people were working to get a GED through Battle Creek Public Schools, the YMCA, or the Women’s Co-op.

test centers

Battle Creek used to have multiple testing centers, but changes in the way the GED test was given forced some of them to close. New requirements made it so the test had to be given on computers. At a time when funding for adult education was being slashed, organizations were forced to stop offering GED testing.

Kellogg Community College managed to continue offering the test, but since they were one of only a few centers, enrollment spiked beyond manageable levels. That meant that their testing center was incredibly busy, and the test was only offered on a case-by-case basis.

addressing the need for geds

So BCVision developed the GED Taskforce to address the challenges for people who were seeking a GED. After researching community issues like closing test centers and a lack of education, we set out to find a solution.

The GED Taskforce partnered with Denso Manufacturing to host a forum that could develop new ways to address the problem. After several discussions, Denso Manufacturing, which is the largest employer in Battle Creek, decided to begin offering GED prep at their facility.

Denso partnered with Battle Creek Public Schools to bring instructors to the facility to teach. Since then, several employees have completed the program, and nearly two dozen people are currently enrolled.

At the same time, test sites opened at Michigan Works! and the YMCA. These have been full of students since they began classes earlier this summer.

the future of ged education in battle creek

Our GED Taskforce is working to keep our community informed about their options for a path to education. Earlier this year, Michigan decided to accept the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) as high school equivalency certification. The task force is still looking into the implementation of this new policy.

In the meantime, the GED Taskforce has created handouts to help people in our community navigate their education and get access to the resources they need.

BCVision is moving Battle Creek forward by providing people in our community with resources that help them get the most out of their education. Learn more about our initiatives and find out how you can get involved by reaching out to a team member. We look forward to sharing our vision for Battle Creek with you.