Diana Hall never thought she would become a statistic of the bad economy. She spent nearly three decades at a local manufacturer, working her way up from a file clerk to human resources manager.

Then the rug was pulled out from under her in September 2011 when she was laid off.

I watched the company go from 240 employees to 38 the day I was laid off, said Hall. I felt so devastated. I was hopeless, and I wasnt sure what I would do.

Of all places Hall, 48, thought she would land, college never crossed her mind. The mother of three thought her time had passed. In all reality, it was perfect timing.

She started researching jobs in the human resources field. I had the experience, but I lacked the education, she said. I always wanted to go to school, and getting a better job was all the reason I needed to do so.

Through the help of the Kentucky Career Center in Prestonsburg, Hall participated in the Ready To Work program, a unique partnership between Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Participating in the program allowed me to manage the shock of returning to school, she said. The staff at Big Sandy Community and Technical College made the big step of returning to school one I could manage.

Hall took advantage of the many programs designed to help students become successful at BSCTC, including the Center for Enrichment Resources (CER). The service provides academic assistance in all service areas, providing one-on-tutoring, small group tutoring and research assistance.

The CER gave me the tools to know I could complete this journey, said Hall. The thing I like about Big Sandy Community and Technical College is the resources that are available for students from all walks of life.

Hall now works part-time in the CER, assisting students on their journey towards a degree.

Its so rewarding to help, Hall said. Shell graduate in May with an Associate in Business Administration with a Management option and plans to pursue a four-year degree. Ironically, Diana is pursuing her degree alongside her daughter, Sarah, who is a first-year nursing student at BSCTC.

Im so proud of my mom, Sarah said. Shes a great example that its never too late to go after what you want in life.

Diana said she was happy to have an affordable option to a college education close to home.

From the president down, you feel like you are a part of something at Big Sandy, she added. If this college wasnt here, Im not sure where I would be.

One of the biggest obstacles Diana had to overcome was completing College Algebra. Professor Toufic Saad was instrumental in providing guidance in class and through office hours to help Hall succeed.

Saad said students like Diana prove thats it never too late to pursue your dreams.

Im extremely proud of where she has come and where she will go, Saad said. Shes a perfect example of how determination and perseverance pays off.