Week marks adult literacy
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 6:47 pm
The Messenger 09.15.10
In an effort to raise public awareness about adult education and family literacy, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation designating this week (Sept. 13-17) as Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.
HR 1472 was sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and co-sponsored by Tennessee Republican Rep. Zach Wamp.
Adult education and family literacy programs serve adults who need to improve their basic literacy and math skills, improve their oral and written English, practice for the GED test or for those who already have a high school diploma who want to prepare for community college or vocational training.
“In these times, because of the economy, people without a high school diploma cannot find work,” Obion County Adult Education supervisor Sharon Connell said.
“It used to be that people could drop out of high school and still find employment at a factory or even in fast food, but these days almost every employer requires at least a high school diploma or GED.”
Mrs. Connell said they are also seeing an increase in middle-aged residents who, years ago, dropped out of school and got a job who now find themselves unemployed because their factory closed.
“Even though they may have 15 to 20 years of work experience, because they lack a high school diploma, they can’t find work,” she said.
According to the National Coalition for Literacy, Obion County has a 16 percent rate of low literacy. The Adult Education Program is working to change that. Mrs. Connell said in the past four years, they have served 733 students. Of that number, 435 were seeking a GED.
According to statistics, an average of 70.25 percent of those seeking a GED in the past four years passed the test and received a GED. Mrs. Connell said some GED students get help and move on to college.
The Obion County Adult Education Center is located at 1705 North Fifth St. in Union City, next to Kohler.
Mrs. Connell said classes, books and materials are free to the participants, although GED testing does cost $65. However, money is available from the local literacy council for those who may not be able to pay the testing fee.
Fall classes meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
In addition to Mrs. Connell, the Obion County Adult Education staff includes Ann Moore, Charlotte Hampton, Danny Ams, Beth Wright, Emily Haynes and Gilbert Parnell.