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Colleges support Adult Literacy Week Oct. 16-22

10/20/2011

Edmonds, Cascadia, Everett, and Shoreline community colleges and Lake Washington Institute of Technology are joining students and employers in celebrating Washington state’s Adult Literacy Week Oct. 16-22. This week, the colleges are sporting an “I support adult literacy” icon online as part of a coordinated social media campaign.

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Edmonds Community College serves more than 2,200 students in its English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, GED Preparation, and I-BEST — Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training classes. The students range in age from 18 to 82. Most are working and have family responsibilities.

These basic skills programs aim to move students in to college further and faster, help meet the needs of local employers, and get students started on the path to pass the first economic tipping point — 45 college-level credits and a vocational certificate — so they can earning a living wage for themselves and their families.

To increase student success, these programs may involve more one-on-one, intensive work with students and require more resources per student.

In I-BEST, for example, each class has two instructors who work closely together — to teach basic skills and to provide specific professional-technical training. Students improve their reading, writing, study skills, and computer literacy while at the same time earning certificates in in-demand job training programs.

Allied Health is the largest I-BEST program followed by medical office and bookkeeping. Other certificates available are: Computers, Electronics and Networks, Materials Science, and Family Support Studies: Parent Mentor.

The model works. Last year, the college’s I-BEST program awarded 158 certificates to 106 students with an 82 percent persistence rate — the students return to class quarter to quarter.

“We’re preparing these students for in-demand jobs in our community so they can achieve their goals and support their families,” said Dean of Developmental Education Karen Johnson.

Similarly, Edmonds and Everett community college now offer a program aimed at training low-income adults in Snohomish County for critical health care jobs. The CATCH-Creating Access to Careers in Health Care program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It provides all-expense paid certificate programs for select health care professions (Phlebotomy Technician, EKG Technician, Monitor Technician, Nursing Assistant, Restorative Aide).

Edmonds and Everett community college are also among the 10 colleges in Washington that joined Achieving the Dream this year, a national initiative to help more community college students — particularly low-income students and students of color — earn degrees and certificates. One of the strategies will be to help better prepare students for college-level work by focusing on developmental education.

For more information about adult literacy programs at Edmonds Community College, call 425.640.1593 or go to www.edcc.edu/deved.

How you can support adult literacy, help your neighbors, and strengthen the local workforce and economy:

— Fund a scholarship for students transitioning from adult basic education to college-level programs. Call the Edmonds Community College Foundation at 425.640.1274.

— Provide an internship for adult basic education students. Call the college’s Career Action Center at 425.640.1256.

— Join Edmonds Community College’s adult basic education advisory board and help guide and strengthen the college’s programs. Share your expertise about the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in today’s job market. Call Dean of Developmental Education Karen Johnson at 425.640.1393.

— Become a tutor with the college’s Volunteer Literacy Program. Commit two hours per week for three months to help adults improve their reading, math, or computer skills. Training and support are provided. Call Program Coordinator Nancy Strom at 425.640.1032 or email nancy.strom@edcc.edu.

Find out more

I-BEST at Edmonds Community College

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