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Adult Basic Education changing with the times
By Karin Elton Independent Staff Writer

Reprinted by permission, Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - You may be a supervisor at your job who needs help honing your writing skills, or maybe your job involves measuring and you wouldn't know a 2 by 4 from a 4 by 4. Where do you go to get help which is specifically tailored to your employment needs? The Marshall Adult Learning Center, which is in the Lyon County Government Center on Main Street.

If you think Adult Basic Education is just for adults who are working on their GEDs, then you haven't kept up with the times. ABE Southwest Minnesota has, said Pat Thomas, the coordinator for Adult Basic Education Southwest Minnesota.

“Traditionally, ABE programs have focused on GED or limited English speakers,” Thomas said. “These components are still an integral part of ABE, however, the face of ABE is changing and workforce education is emerging as a key piece of this reform. ABE offices used to be thought of as a last resort - a place to go when all other alternatives were exhausted. This negative stigma prevented a lot of people from taking advantage of a truly remarkable program.” As far as Thomas is concerned, the only losers at ABE are the employees who don't come in to sharpen their skills - and their companies.

ABE staff can go to the work site or the employee who needs extra training can come to the ABE office.

“We have the flexibility to mold our program to meet the needs of this community and its residents,” Thomas said.

All this is at a cost far below what a private contractor would charge, said Thomas.

“It's partially subsidized by public money,” she said. “There would be a charge, but it wouldn't be anything near what a private contractor would charge.” Thomas said the instruction at ABE is not about “textbook teaching; you're not going to be able to read about “Romeo and Juliet” here. Our whole goal is to teach skills for jobs that you're going to be successful at. If you have workplace skills, you are going to get a good job and you will be a better parent and a better member of the community.” Thomas said that employees who come to ABE for more training are motivated employees - “what more could businesses want?” Contact staff writer Karin Elton at kelton@marshallindependent.com

 

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Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

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