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Legislator's 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 ABE/Workforce Center
From Left: 
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.

 

 


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

E-Mail:Marshall Adult Education

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