Commissioners, Council Support Promise DeKalb County
AUBURN — The DeKalb County Council and county commissioners added their support for Promise DeKalb County at meetings earlier this week.
Both local government bodies signed letters of support for the Community Foundation of DeKalb County in its application for a grant that would provide start-up funds for the initiative, which encourages children to consider careers and post-secondary education at an early age.
The program also will help establish College Choice 529 Savings Accounts for children to help them pay for the education or career training they will need someday.
The grant will come from the Lilly Endowment through Promise Indiana. Other counties in the area, including Noble, Steuben, Wabash and Whitley, have started Promise initiatives, which target children in grades K-3.
Judy Sorg, director of Learning Link, an educational initiative of the Community Foundation, said the grant would be for $30,000 over three years, and it would help cover operational costs of getting the program going.
Sorg said nearly 40 letters of support from the county have been gathered to submit with the grant application. “We’re getting a pretty big response,” she said.
Promise DeKalb County already has an advisory board and a task force, which includes local school superintendents. All DeKalb County schools are behind the program.
“We need them to make this happen,” Sorg said.
Sorg said the Promise program has a three-pronged approach. Along with the savings account, children participate in “Walk Into My Future,” a trip to visit a college campus. They get to talk to students and walk through buildings, and age-appropriate activities usually are included, Sorg said.
Teachers will use an established curriculum to teach children about the expectation of attending career training after high school. Sorg said the emphasis is on careers, since area employers are looking for those with skill training, and not necessarily a four-year college degree.
The foundation plans to find those who will provide funds to place the initial $25 in each child’s account. The student then will look for “champions,” often family or friends, who will match the original $25.
Once that’s achieved, Promise DeKalb County will add $75 to the account, meaning those children will begin with at least $125.
According to Promise Indiana, low- and moderate-income youth with that amount in a 529 account are four times more likely to attend post-high school training and are three times more likely to complete post-secondary education.
Mentoring Focuses on building Relationships
BY KATHRYN BASSETT firstname.lastname@example.org kpcnews.com
When Kevin Heller talks about his role as a mentor, his passion for the work is clear.
“The key is being a great listener,” Heller said.
Heller recalled mentoring a student at DeKalb High School who had missed a lot of school.
“In our first month together, I’m not sure he said 10 words,” Heller recalled. “He was very quiet.”
As a mentor with the DeKalb County HOPE (Helping Our Pupils Excel) program, Heller continued to meet with the student at the high school and mentored him for three years.
“During that time he wanted to quit school … I literally built a relationship with him where I said, ‘I’m not going to let you quit,’” Heller said.
“I told him every time I saw him, ‘You’re going to graduate, and I’m going to be sitting there watching you walk.’ And he did. He graduated.”
Heller said at that moment, he felt as proud of the young man as he felt when his own children graduated.
January is National Mentoring Month. Each year mentoring programs use National Mentoring Month to start a dialogue on the importance of quality mentoring programs and to recruit volunteer mentors.
According to the National Mentoring Month website, with a mentor, at-risk youth are: 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school; 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college; 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using drugs; 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities; 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities; and more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.
The same research shows that one in three young people in the United States will grow up without a mentor, the website states.
“I had to become a mentor to really understand the value and the need,” Heller said.
Shirley Johnson of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program is the coordinator for the Catholic Charities Mentoring Program. It aims to match mentors and students in Noble and DeKalb counties, and ultimately throughout northeast Indiana, through a referral system and application process. The goal is to increase school attendance as well as prevent truancy and other at-risk behaviors.
Johnson said she is focusing on recruiting mentors in communities across northeast Indiana.
“We’re looking for people who are committed to helping kids,” Johnson said.
Where HOPE mentors commit to meet with students for one hour a week in the school setting, Mentoring Program volunteers and students participate in after-school, weekend and group activities, Johnson said.
Parental involvement also is required, and parents are expected to commit to a year with the program, Johnson said. Orientation, training and activities are available to parents on a regular basis.
Mentors must commit to spending at least two hours a week for a year with the student. They also must complete an application process, interview and background check.
Johnson noted that mentors could come from church and civic groups, groups of co-workers, and other interested individuals.
Group activities that mentors and their students have enjoyed include participating in Christmas parades, working on service projects, holiday parties, movie nights and suppers.
“We interview the kids to find out what they want to try,” she said. “We’re giving them the opportunity to do something fun.
Mentors and mentees also participate individually in activities such as walking, biking, bowling and fishing.
“They can do anything that the parent or guardian agrees to,” Johnson said.
To avoid financial burden, Johnson said, the program emphasizes participating in activities that do not require spending a lot of money. Johnson said she has been fortunate to receive donations of tickets and discounted admission to area events and venues.
Johnson said the Mentoring Program has been active in northeast Indiana for about five years and over the life of the program has served about 30 children. As she actively seeks more mentors, her goal is to have 40 matches, she said.
While many children move and no longer participate in the program, she has two matches that have continued for more than four years.
“I’ve seen kids mature and grow from a shy little boy to someone who has stepped up to the plate,” Johnson said.
HOPE mentor Abby Millett said the rewards of mentoring are shared by both the mentor and mentee.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing to do, for both sides,” she said.
Millett began mentoring more than 10 years ago and has built long-term relationships with the students she has mentored.
“I see it as a change to have one-on-one time with the kids,” she said. “It’s not really the tutoring. It’s the relationship that we develop. It’s very rewarding. I love my kids. It’s been a great experience for me. I highly recommend it.”
Heller noted that many times the mentor must break down barriers to get to know his or her mentee.
“Sometimes students are cautious. I’ve had students even be suspicious. You have to break through the ice and get to know each other. You try to get to a point where you can have a nice conversation and let them talk about whatever they want to talk about,” said Heller.
“For me, (mentoring) has been one of the more fulfilling things I’ve done in my life.”
Johnson will conduct a meeting Jan. 24 from 4-6 p.m. at the RSVP office, 107 W. 5th St., Auburn, for anyone who is interested in becoming a mentor. Supper will be available. She noted that individuals who serve as mentors with other agencies also are welcome to join the Mentoring Program.
Johnson asks those who plan to attend to contact her at 925-0917 or by email at email@example.com.
“There are always going to be kids who need mentors. Our biggest challenge is getting mentors,” Heller said. “There are so many people who have things that they can share.”
To learn more about HOPE, visit hopedekalbcounty.org.
For information on National Mentoring Month, visit nationalmentoringmonth.org.
Most Local High Schools Top State Graduation Rate
Eleven of the 14 public high schools in northeast Indiana exceeded the state average in their 2017 graduation rates, a state report said Friday.
The statewide graduation rate last year stood at 87.2 percent, down from 89.1 percent in 2016, the Indiana Department of Education reported.
In northeast Indiana, Garrett High School recorded the highest graduation rate at 97.1 percent. The report said 134 of Garrett 138 seniors received their diplomas in 2017.
Garrett’s rate exactly matched its number for 2016, which also ranked as the area’s best.
Central Noble High School ranked second in the area at 94.7 percent for 2017, slightly ahead of Westview’s 94.6 percent.
Among nonpublic schools, Lakewood Park Christian School of Auburn recorded a 100 percent graduation rate last year, with all 36 of its seniors receiving diplomas. The school also achieved a 100 percent rate in 2016.
Local schools’ graduation rates:
Central Noble 94.7
Prairie Heights 93.3
Columbia City 91.6
East Noble 91.0
West Noble 89.2
State avg. 87.2
Lakewood Park 100
Howe School 56
A Push For Education
Although a high school diploma is still sufficient to get many jobs in the region, education beyond high school is becoming increasingly important in the workforce, and parts of northeast Indiana are lagging behind others.
Steuben and DeKalb counties are within the top third of Indiana’s 92 counties for populations with some type of post-high school education, but Noble and LaGrange counties are more toward the bottom of the rankings, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among the four counties, 51.5 percent of people in Steuben County have education beyond high school, while it’s 47.5 percent in DeKalb County, 43.3 percent in Noble County and 30 percent in LaGrange County.
Among the 92 counties, Steuben County ranks 23rd overall, DeKalb County is 32nd and Noble County is 60th. LaGrange County ranks last at 92nd, although the ranking is skewed by the county’s large Amish population, many of who don’t advance beyond a middle-school education.
The percentages include people who have any education above a high school diploma. Within the Census categories that includes people with “some college” but not degree as well as people who have obtained associate, bachelor’s or graduate degrees.
All of the county rates are lower than the rate of Indiana as a whole — 53.2 percent — although that number is skewed upward by some highly populated counties with high education rates. For example, Hamilton County on the northeast side of Indianapolis has about 310,000 residents and a post-secondary education rate of 80.2 percent.
Steuben and DeKalb counties’ education levels beat the average of the 92 counties, 46.7 percent, as well as the median county rate of 45.1 percent, while Noble and LaGrange counties both lag behind.
Educational attainment is noteworthy because higher education is strongly correlated with higher wages.
In Indiana, median wages for Hoosiers with a high school diploma is about $30,000. Wages increase to about $32,000 for people with some college education or an associate degree, and then rise to $40,000-$42,000 for people with bachelor’s degrees.
That’s not to say a college degree is necessary for employment; it’s quite the contrary in the region, where many employers will hire workers for entry-level positions when they’re right out of high school.
But increasingly employers are looking for some type of further education, said Jim Walmsley, director of Impact Institute, which provides vocational training to students from a dozen high schools in the region.
“I think the high school diploma certainly is enough, but people need to be prepared to go beyond that,” Walmsley said. “Something beyond high school, I think, is really a requirement.
“This is not about a four-year degree for everyone. This is about something that provides a level of skill that business and industry is looking for,” he said.
There are plenty of jobs in industry where workers can earn high wages — higher even than a lot of jobs people with a bachelor’s degree would get out of school. But they’re jobs that require an additional level of training beyond an entry-level factory gig.
Welders, for example, are in high demand and earn high wages. But in order to get a welding job, an employer is going to want to know that a person has completed welding training.
Some high school students are able to get that training through vocational courses at Impact Institute, but even then they may need to pursue a further training course or use credits from some dual-credit Ivy Tech courses to complete a two-year degree in order to secure a better job, Walmsley said.
“It’s about matching a skill set with the job, I think, and not just taking a broad stroke view of, ‘Well, if I go to college, I’ll make more money in my lifetime,’” Walmsley said.
The task of “leveling up” Indiana’s workforce is one plank of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2018 agenda. While the governor wants schools to give students more STEM education and job skills, the state is also seeking to increase options for adult education and work training.
“Students should graduate from high school ready to go to college, pursue meaningful training and employment in a field of their choice, or with skills to go directly into a quality job,” according to the 2018 Next Level agenda. “Working age adults should be connected to education and career training that is aligned to industry needs and leads directly to employment.”
Increasingly, the task of getting people ready to pursue education beyond high school is starting in K-12, as schools prod students to think about careers.
For example, schools will program in activities that highlight and celebrate the educational achievements of their own staff, such as by encouraging teachers to hang up decorations and tailor some assignments around their alma maters.
In East Noble School Corp., for example, the No Excuses University program is a way to expose youngsters to the idea of education beyond high school and to work on building “soft skills,” like promptness, critical thinking, communication and collaboration with others and work ethic.
Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean a four-year degree, but it means looking into the future at least a little and discovering what it would take for a student to achieve whatever her or his current dream job is, Avilla Elementary School Principal Dave Pine said.
“We set goals and ask our kids to think about what they need to meet those goals. Going to college isn’t necessarily a goal, but the skill sets and habits that need to be formed have to be formed at a young age,” Pine said.
Post-high school educational attainment
Overall: 53.2 percent
Counties average: 46.7 percent
Counties median: 45.1 percent
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Northeast Indiana wage levels impact talent retention
Northeast Indiana wage levels impact talent retention By Rachel Blakeman and John Stafford kpcnews.com
Know anyone looking for a job? With an unemployment rate hovering between 2.5 and 3 percent in northeast Indiana, local job seekers, especially those with a post-secondary credential like a bachelor’s degree or technical certificate, won’t be without a paycheck for long.
This is a dramatic turnaround from the Great Recession high of 13 percent unemployment at the beginning of 2010. Thanks in part to the strong presence of vehicle and medical-device manufacturing, employment has rebounded nicely in the past few years. Yet this only tells part of the economic story.
We have a lot of folks working in northeast Indiana – more than 375,000 in the Indiana Department of Workforce Department’s 11-county area data as of June – but the wages they bring home are frustratingly low when compared to other Midwestern cities and the country as a whole. This is highlighted throughout the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne report titled “A Comparative Assessment of the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Area Economy 2001-2016.” It was presented in May to the Allen County Board of Commissioners and is available on the CRI website at ipfw.edu/centers/cri/reports.
The average weekly wage for that 10-county region in 2016’s third quarter was $790, for an annual earned income of about $41,000. Things look a little better for workers in the Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area of Allen, Wells and Whitley counties at $823 per week or $42,800 annually.
However both measures lag behind Indiana’s statewide average of $866 and Ohio and Michigan at $924 and $976 respectively. This means that Michiganders, on average, made $9,700 more last year than northeast Indiana’s workers. Furthermore, Fort Wayne metro’s $823 came in dead last when compared against the average wages of 13 comparable Midwestern cities including South Bend, Toledo, Dayton and Grand Rapids, Mich. Ouch.
The local wage totals don’t look better when evaluated over time. In 2001, the three-county Fort Wayne metro area had an average annual wage of $32,168. Jump ahead a decade and a half? The average annual wage in 2015 was $31,934 adjusted for inflation. And no, there’s no typo there. Real wages actually fell to what amounts to $978 when accounting for inflation.
Setting aside inflation adjustments, Fort Wayne metro average wages rose $9,768 between 2001 and 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, the U.S. metro aggregate wage increase was $16,667 in that same time. Since these earnings represent almost two-thirds of total personal income locally, lower earned income contributes to the area’s low per-capita income when compared to national figures.
It is tempting to look at the area’s recognized low cost of living as a sufficient offset to our lower-than-average wages, but that is not an equal trade.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Regional Price Parity tool for 2015 puts the distance between the buying power of Fort Wayne’s metro wages for goods and services and Des Moines at about 5 percent, yet Des Moines residents on average make about 23 percent more than we do. This puts northeast Indiana in jeopardy of losing workers, especially the skilled employees we so desperately want, to other locations because they could opt to take the increased cost of living in return for even higher wages.
A strong argument can be made that at least part of our wage depression can be attributed to the loss of skilled, well-paying jobs like Navistar’s engineering center and ITT’s military radio production. The jobs that replaced them, especially those in the service sector, simply tend to pay less.
So what can we do to lift local wages? One of the best ways is to develop a better-educated, more-skilled workforce that commands higher pay in the market and attracts employers likely to pay more.
A 2017 Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research report found five of the top 10 Indiana counties with the highest rates of bachelor’s degrees also fell in the top 10 counties with the highest per capita income. No northeast Indiana county made either list.
Our manufacturing-heavy economy may have less demand for bachelor’s degrees than other cities, but new jobs projected to be created here between now and 2024 are going to need more workers with something between a certificate and an advanced degree than jobs requiring a high school diploma or less. Additionally under simple economic theory of supply and demand, we can hope that employers will respond to the tight labor market with higher wages to attract and retain workers.
The Fort Wayne area has come a long way since the economic downturn from seven to 10 years ago. People can find a job here if they want one, however it may not be at the pay they once earned. Or they may decide it’s time to take their skills elsewhere for a bigger paycheck.
John Stafford was the interim Community Research Institute director prior to the arrival of Rachel Blakeman. Contact the Community Research Institute director at 481-0274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Holcomb announces 15 additional counties selected for FSSA’s On My Way Pre-K program
Indianapolis (June 7, 2017) – Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced 15 additional Indiana counties are now eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K, making prekindergarten available in 2018 to 4-year-olds from low-income families in those counties. Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly expanded the program from five pilot counties to 20 counties in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1004-2017.
The new counties added to the On My Way Pre-K program are Bartholomew, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Floyd, Grant, Harrison, Howard, Kosciusko, Madison, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Vigo. Participating local providers in these counties will be expected to enroll children in On My Way Pre-K for the 2018/2019 school year, with the possibility of a limited program beginning in January of 2018.
These additional counties will join Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties, which have provided early education via the On My Way Pre-K program since 2015 when first authorized by the General Assembly.
“Eligible Hoosier children who start at the back of the line now have an opportunity to move ahead when enrolled in a high-quality pre-kindergarten program,” Governor Holcomb said. “A strategic investment now to expand state-funded prekindergarten for children from low-income families is an essential investment we must make in Indiana’s workforce and our state’s future.”
“We at FSSA already know from the two years we have spent managing the five-county pilot of On My Way Pre-K that children who begin the program are some of the most educationally needy in our state, yet they make higher gains than their peers in important aspects of school readiness such as language comprehension, early literacy, executive functioning and a reduction in behavior problems in the classroom,” said Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Walthall. “We hope the expansion of On My Way Pre-K will double the number of Hoosier children receiving these important benefits.”
HEA 1004 tasked the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) via its Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL), to identify 15 additional counties that demonstrated readiness to support an expansion of the On My Way Pre-K program. In total, OECOSL asked 27 counties for readiness statements based upon the following factors:
- To evaluate need in the community
o The number of 4-year-olds being served under the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) in each county, as well as any children who were on the CCDF waitlist
- To evaluate available capacity
o The number of Early Care and Education (ECE) providers who have reached a Level 3 or 4 in the Paths to Quality (PTQ) system in each county
o Demonstration that capacity might be available based upon number of Level 3 and 4 (PTQ)
child care providers existing in county vs. the number of children currently being served
- To evaluate community support
o The demonstration that the county has an active ECE coalition that could support
community engagement as well as philanthropic support
Twenty of the 27 counties responded to OECOSL’s request for information. Applications were then
scored by two separate groups of early learning professionals. Scoring included the following key
- The county’s readiness to implement and sustain the program, including the ability to raise
the statutorily required community contribution
- The involvement of all community partners that would support a mixed delivery system that
includes public and private schools, child care home providers, child care centers and
- The number of potentially eligible children
- Whether the county was defined as “rural” or “primarily rural” by the U.S. Census Bureau
- The kindergarten retention rate in the county
HEA 1004 required that consideration be given to counties that are primarily rural. It also required
counties to secure a community contribution of a minimum of five percent of the state’s total
investment in that county’s program. The 2017 Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) annual report
estimates about 6,700 4-year-olds in these new counties are likely to need care and whose families have
incomes at or below 127 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is required for eligibility.
In addition to representatives of FSSA’s OECOSL, the team of reviewers included early education
professionals from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), Head Start, the Early Learning Advisory
Council (ELAC), the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (Indiana AEYC) Early
Learning Indiana, United Way of Central Indiana, and the University of Southern Indiana’s Department
of Teacher Education.
More information about On My Way Pre-K is available here.
Contact: Stephanie Wilson, Governor’s Office: 317-914-9137
Marni Lemons, FSSA: 317-234-5287, email@example.com
At the Mercy of the Almighty Dollar
The Star – February 23, 2015
by Linda Lipp
FORT WAYNE — Jessica and Ken Butterfield are doing everything right, but it’s an everyday battle just to keep up with the costs of raising four children — let alone get ahead.
“We knew all along that it was our desire that we would home-school our children,” she said. “We made the choice before we got married that we wanted to have more control over what our kids were learning, the environment they were in.”
It also made no financial sense as their family grew for her to go back to work and put the children in day care. With the small salary she would have made, “at the end of the month if we had paid for child care, we wouldn’t even have broken even,” she said.
The Butterfields were getting along OK until late last year on his annual wages of $37,000 for a job at Triple Crown that came with good benefits. But he lost that job, and the benefits, when the company slashed its local workforce from 240 people to just 40. He found another position as a dispatcher with a small trucking company pretty quickly, and it came with $1,000 more a year in pay. The problem, however, was the switch would mean a health insurance bill for the family of $18,000 a year.
The family knew a month or so in advance that his job at Triple Crown would be cut, and he immediately started looking for something else. The trucking company where he now works was the first to make him an offer.
“We went over and over our finances. We looked at the option of taking this job with no insurance, or sitting on unemployment to look for something else. But unemployment would not have met our monthly bills. We felt that this was the choice we had to make,” Jessica explained.
The stress of coping
“Jessica can be very intense and over-stressed about things, and I am the complete opposite,” Ken agreed.
From a small town in Ohio, Jessica came to Fort Wayne to go to Taylor University, where she lasted about two years and changed her major several times.
“It was very important to me. I didn’t want to have to be getting assistance. I did not want that to be who we were,” she said. “I made my mistakes. I wanted to grow from them and teach my children better.”
Reading success early pays off later in life
By Brityn Calloway, February 8, 2017
KPC NEWS – The third grade marks a pivotal time in a child’s life when it comes to reading and their chances of achieving educational and career success well into the future.
Those 8- and 9-year-olds may not recognize it, but education experts do.
“They go from reading, ‘See Spot go,’ to reading about geography and science,” said Judy Sorg, director of Learning Link DeKalb County.
The third grade often is when children make the leap from learning how to speak and write to using those newfound language skills to have a deeper understanding of subjects such as math, history and science.
The U.S. Department of Education categorizes children by the third grade, based on their reading proficiency. Educators and researchers use literacy test scores to determine the likelihood that a child will graduate high school.
According to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, approximately 16 percent of children who are found to lack third-grade reading proficiency do not graduate high school, a number four times greater than proficient readers.
The Education Department says that to be a proficient reader, students must be able to understand the reading process; be able to gain background information on the topic they are reading about; apply that background knowledge to help their understanding of the material; read in a comprehensive manner; be able to handle themselves instances in which they don’t understand part of the material; and retain the information once the material is done.
The list is extensive, but it is something that literate adults do every day. They read articles, books and even posts on Facebook, and do so in a comprehensive manner, which then allows them to respond to the material.
According to Learning Link, a program of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County, only 66 percent of third-graders and 56 percent of second-graders in DeKalb County were labeled as proficient in 2016, based on their performance on the Northwest Evaluation Association assessment.
That’s cause for concern and celebration. “Numbers are going up each year,” Sorg said.
Across northeast Indiana, 88 percent of third-graders passed the IREAD-3 assessment during the 2014-2015 school year, according to data compiled for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Big Goal 2016 Snapshot report. The partnership covers an 11-county area, which includes DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben.
Parents play a key role in child’s reading proficiency and literacy. A fact sheet citing Education Department data prepared by the National Education Association states: “Where parent involvement is low, the classroom mean average (reading score) is 46 points below the national average. Where involvement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average — a gap of 74 points.”
“When parents have the knowledge and want to pass on their knowledge to their child, their child will be more literate,” Sorg said.
Practice helps, too. The more a child reads at home or has a parent read to him or her, the greater the likelihood the child will be proficient in his or her schoolwork. Sorg suggests just 15 minutes of reading a day will help children’s comprehension.
Children who fall behind in reading while they’re young often continue to struggle academically. According to the Indiana Business Research Center, the percentages of adults 18 and older in the four-county area who don’t have a diploma or high school equivalency are: DeKalb, 12.1 percent; LaGrange, 40.1 percent; Noble, 16.7 percent; and Steuben, 11 percent.
In all, that’s about 22,600 people.
Impact Institute, based in Kendallville, offers high school equivalency courses for adults in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties. The organization tries to make the courses, which are free, as convenient as possible to attend.
“Our goal is to bring our classes to the people who can’t necessarily travel to them,” said Caroline Foster, assistant director for adult education at Impact Institute. “So you will see that counties that don’t have a literacy coalition, their classes will be at public libraries and schools.”
Earning a high school equivalency diploma can help offset the challenges created when a child falls behind in reading at an early age. It also makes a person more desirable to potential employers.
“College isn’t for everyone,” Foster said. “I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go to college, but there are a lot of jobs that call for adult learning and not college degrees.”