Director of Literacy Programs, Reading Area Community College
In 1999, Auria Bradley entered the doors of RACC seeking a new start. She began her journey at RACC in the Community Education Department as a GED student. She obtained her GED in 2001 and shortly thereafter stared her journey to the Associate's Degree. She graduated from RACC in 2005, then transferred to Albright College where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in 2007. Her passion for education continued to Capella University where in 2011 she earned a Master's Degree in Human Services. The quest for ongoing education led her to enroll in a PhD program at Capella University where she is currently completing her dissertation studying the relationship between acculturative stress and academic self-efficacy of Latinx community college students. She one day hopes to write a book about her life and journey.
During her years as a student at RACC, Auria worked as a college work-study staff member and then was hired in 2002 as the secretary for the counseling department. Throughout her 20-year professional career at RACC, she was able to obtain various positions in student affairs as an Admissions and Career Counselor, College Instructor teaching GED, and also teaching College Success Strategies and Psychology courses. She now serves as the Director for Career Training, Community Education & Professional Development at RACC. Her passion for serving others in the community has led her to join various boards and committees within Berks County. She currently serves on the Workforce Development Board of Berks County, the Salvation Army Board of Reading as Vice-Chair, and is a member of the South of Penn Task Force, as well as, the Wyomissing Foundation.
Auria Bradley was born in Newark, New Jersey - a city much like Reading, Pennsylvania. She moved to Reading seeking new opportunities in 1996 and is the proud wife of Ryan Bradley and a loving mother and grandmother. Her personal passion and goal is to serve others and help build hope for people in the community of Reading and Berks County.
Auria's focus now is to bring new innovative high-demand career training opportunities that help to fill local workforce needs and provide sustainable employment for community members in the healthcare and business sectors.
What brought you to RACC?
In 1999 the manufacturing company that I was working for went bankrupt. I was an administrative clerical manager and had been trained by the company for the position, so I didn’t need a high school diploma. They gave us about a month’s notice before they shut their doors and I became lost and wondered what am I going to do now? I was a single mom with three kids and a 10th grade education. I knew I needed to get my GED and put it on my resume and get another job because I had the experience of working for a couple of years and I had some skills. Somebody said to me there were free GED classes at RACC and I signed up with the encouragement from generous neighbors who helped watch my children while I was at night school. I remember the first day of class, sitting there receiving this big GED five-subject book. The instructor, who was so kind, read my facial expression and said, "Don't worry, we're going to get through this." So I was here two nights a week, never missed a class and I studied at home, I even purchased my own book to have at home so I could study there. After a couple of months, the instructor asked if I was ready to take the GED exam and I said yes. After the four-hour test, I passed! Then my instructor was pivotal in helping me enroll in RACC and actually assisted me with the application.
How did your experience at RACC shape your career path?
My GED instructor had asked me what are you going to do after you get your GED? I said, I don't know, get a job. She said, a job is nice, but maybe you want to go to college and get a degree to get a career path. So I took her advice and, as I always say, I walked into RACC and never left. In the beginning, I was in developmental classes. I had just passed the GED, but at the same time coming into college, I still needed some extra skills to get to the college level. So I started as a developmental student. Then I went into my major and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in the Executive Secretary program in 2005. I also started working as a work-study student staff member in the Advantage program here.
While I was finishing up my associates degree, Career Link offered me some free training dollars for some skills. So I enrolled in the career training program at RACC, which I oversee now! It was an eight-week program which ran over the summer to brush up on some office skills including spreadsheets and PowerPoint. I got the certificate for executive secretary and a position became available for a secretary in the counseling department. Judy Rubright, former Assistant to the Director of RACC’s Center for Academic Success, encouraged me to apply for the job. I was interviewed and got the job so I became a full-time secretary at RACC in 2002 while I continued my education.
I transferred from RACC to Albright College’s accelerated program and graduated within 24 months in 2007 with a Bachelor's in Organizational Behavior with Applied Psychology. Once I received my bachelor's degree from Albright, I was able to apply for a GED instructor position here at RACC which required a bachelor's degree. That position was extremely rewarding for me personally because it allowed me to give back and share my experience as a student to encourage the other students that no matter where you're coming from and what skills you have, we're going to get you through the GED. You can do this.
Then I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Human Services, with a specialization in social and community services, at Capella University in 2011 while working the whole time. Because of my master’s degree, I was able to obtain a job at RACC as an admissions counselor. Now I was going out into the local high schools, encouraging students and helping them understand their placement test results. I would sit down and advise them on their classes. I also started teaching as an adjunct at RACC.
I was very instrumental with the Reading High School / RACC Opportunity Scholarship students with my College Success Class which sets the students up to be successful. They came in as a cohort during the summer, so we only had them in that one class where they could focus on the campus before they started their full-time schedules. That was so rewarding also because I was so close to the students. We had such a wonderful time over the summer and they became really good students in the fall. I just feel such a connection to those students and I want to hear their stories and help them succeed.
I have been in various positions at RACC including KEYS Program Coordinator, Director of Literacy Programs, and now as the Director of Career Training, Community Education and Professional Development.
Currently, I'm chapter writing for my dissertation for my doctorate degree.
What advice/insight would you give to current RACC students?
I would tell new students that RACC is a special place where people care and provide the support needed to help you with your education and training needs.
I would also say to them is that no matter what anyone tells you, You can succeed.
I would say RACC is the "Hope Place" and B209 is the "Help Place."
2021 marks RACC's 50th Anniversary. What message would you like to pass on to President Looney and the RACC Community on this historic occasion?
I would say to Dr. Looney that I am so proud of what RACC has done for this community and for me, and so many others like me that walked through the door, looking for some help. I wish RACC continued success, and I'm glad to be a part of the team and the community.
I want people to know that we have so much here for everyone. You don't have to always go the degree track, we have training too. We just have something for everyone and that we're here to help.