Sunday, July 9, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Ontario CAN :: Rochester MN :: Plymouth MA

Adult literacy gets $185 million funding boost from province
The Star: 6.16.2017 by Kristin Rushowy

Some 80,000 more adult learners will be able to hit the books — upgrading their literacy, math and computer skills — with a $185 million boost from the Ontario government.

“This is huge,” said Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, also the province’s minister of advanced education and skills development, in a telephone interview.

“We are doubling the funding over the next four years for adult literacy and basic skills.”

She made the announcement Friday in London, saying afterwards that “I’ve just come from the event, and hearing the stories of people who didn’t get the education that they could have got or should have got, and making the decision to go back and learn to read, and learn numeracy skills.”

The funding is part of the government’s push to improve literacy levels. Premier Kathleen Wynne’s own Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel urged literacy training as necessary for today’s economy and to help with labour productivity.

“It’s about access,” added Matthews, who said the free help often leads students to further their education.

“It’s just beautiful,” she said of one woman she met who took adult literacy courses, went to college and is now heading to university. “Those are the stories. About 15 per cent of the population does not have the literacy and numeracy skills required to compete in this economy, so we’ve got to focus on (them).”  READ MORE @

How a Rochester program is helping nontraditional students overcome obstacles to health-care jobs
Minn Post: 6.06.2017 by Erin Hinrichs

Suzana Deng is heading into her third — and final — year at Hawthorne, where she’s preparing to enroll in a nursing program at Rochester Community and Technical College.

When Suzana Deng, 34, came to Rochester, Minnesota, in the winter of 2003 as a Sudanese refugee, she wound up at an education hub familiar among English Language Learners in town: the Hawthorne Education Center, the Rochester Public Schools’ adult basic education program. =But she didn’t stick with her classes long.

Feeling more immediate financial pressure to help support her family members, Deng found board and employment at a meatpacking plant in Worthington and spent the next two years commuting home on the weekends. Eventually, she decided it was time to give Hawthorne another try. So she enrolled in the center’s literacy program and eventually settled on nursing as her career interest.

Now a mother of three little girls, Deng is heading into her third — and final — year at Hawthorne, where she’s preparing to enroll in a nursing program at Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC). It’s a stepping stone that’ll help her go from working part time at a nursing home to finding employment as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Mayo Clinic, she hopes.  READ MORE @

A high school diploma and a prom at age 65
Randolph Wicked Local: 6.20.2017 by Sue Scheible, The Patriot Ledger

June Giffin was 16 and a sophomore at Quincy High School when she fell in love with Don Parsons, who was 17 and a senior at Dorchester High. They got married soon after he graduated; she dropped out of school and by age 18, they had two small children. Both always intended for her to go back and earn her high school diploma.

Monday evening that dream finally came true. At age 65, June Parsons received her high school equivalency certificate from the Greater Plymouth Adult Literacy program; she also was selected to give the graduation speech at Plimoth Plantation.

“Don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone,” she told her fellow graduates. “Look at me ... the grandmother of the class ... your success is waiting for you to grab it.”

Her daughter Cheryl, the Randolph school nurse, was there, watching with pride, but sadly, Don Parsons was not. A few months after he sold his business and retired, he was diagnosed with cancer and died in May 2015. He was 64.

“We had so much left to do!” June said last week. “It was the hardest thing I ever had to endure.” After a year of letting things settle, she decided to take his advice and enrolled in the Adult Literacy Program at Plymouth public library, in its 28th year.

After just four months of study, she passed all five exams in the high school equivalency test, HiSET, formerly the GED. “I almost resented it being over so fast because I loved studying so much,” she said.  READ MORE @

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