Marshall Adult Education
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Day at the Marshall ABE
The Marshall ABE
hosted the annual Legislator's Day at the Lyon County Government Center.
The Marshall Independent article below is reprinted by permission.
Area Legislators met with the Marshall
Senator Dennis Fredrickson, Gary Wertish representing US Senator Mark Dayton,
Representative Aaron Peterson, Representative Lyle Koenen, Representative Doug
Magnus, Representative Marty Seifert, Senator Jim Vickerman
‘I’m learning now’
Reprinted by permission, Marshall Independent
December 14, 2004
By Rae Kruger
Independent Staff Writer
MARSHALL — Legislators get plenty of statistics to read during the legislative
session, and on Monday officials from several local agencies wanted to make sure
a group of legislators met the people who make those statistics.
People like 17-year-old Kenny Fox who lives in Marshall. Fox works part-time at
K-Mart and is taking classes to obtain his GED.
“I’ve progressed a lot since I first came here,” Fox said of taking classes at
Adult Basic Education.
Fox followed the suggestion of those who said if he wanted his GED, ABE was the
place to get it, he said.
Fox was one of more than two dozen participants in ABE programs, in Workforce
Center and Private Industry Council programs who shared short stories of why
they are participating in programs sponsored by the three agencies.
Five state legislators and a representative from U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton’s office
heard the stories. They were: Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy; Rep. Marty
Seifert, R-Marshall; Rep. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton; Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara
City; Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Madison and Sen. Dennis Frederickson, R-New Ulm.
Gary Wertish represented Dayton.
“She wants to better herself,” Lois Wentzel said of her daughter Justine, who
takes GED classes in Marshall.
As Wentzel told legislators about her daughter’s classes, she cried.
After the presentation Wentzel said her daughter took some time to decide to
take the classes, and now, she’s determined to finish.
Justine Wentzel travels from Pipestone four
days a week and is driven by her mother or aunt. She likes the Marshall
structure, Justine Wentzel said. Better than when she was in school, she
said. “I’m learning now,” Justine Wentzel said.
Allen Erickson of Russell said he couldn’t turn on a computer before he attended
computer classes through the agencies. Without the referral from job service,
Erickson said, “I wouldn’t know how to do it.” Erickson had been laid off from
his job. He continues to look for a new job.
References between the Workforce Center, PIC
and ABE happen frequently in Marshall and other counties in southwestern
Minnesota, employees said. That kind of communication doesn’t occur elsewhere in
the state, said Lois Schmidt, the facilitator of Monday’s presentation. “It
doesn’t always happen, but it happens here, very well,” Schmidt said.
Halimo Said, a native of Somalia, arrived
after parent/teacher conferences to tell the legislators why she likes English
as a Second Language classes. “I want to better my future, I want to better my
son’s future,” she said. “I like to practice English, I want to talk, talk...”
Said also participates in the Family Literacy program where during a recent
class she did role playing in various jobs.
One of her roles was receptionist.
“A receptionist talks with the customers, answers the phone, can give money
back...” she said.
Said may not be receptionist today, but participants and agency employees said
the programs are about helping people with what they want to be tomorrow.
For some, that
tomorrow could be in several years; for others, life could improve significantly
after they pass their final GED test in a few months.