Marshall Adult Education


Pat Thomas provided testimony on March 16 before the Senate Committee  hearing our bill to increase ABE revenue.   The committee did pass a recommendation following testimony to include this request in a letter to the Finance Committee.

Mister Chair and Senators

My name is Pat Thomas and I am a lead coordinator of the Southwest ABE covering 18 counties and 53 School districts in southwestern Minnesota.

I would like to thank you for opportunity speak with you today and thank you for the investment you have made in ABE programs that prepare adults to enter our workforce.

In 2004-05 our State ABE programs served 80,452 learners.   Primarily all these adults used these services to gain greater employability skills.

Our program in Southwest Minnesota served 2,312 adults last year in a response to the economic needs of our area.  59% of our learners used ESL services.  Our refugee and immigrant population comprise the majority of the process plant’s Workforce.  These populations are an extremely resilient and hard working example of a people seeking to make a better life for their families.

Other Services we provided which reflects ABE services statewide are:

► GED classes
► Basic Skill Enhancement in both Reading and Math
► Computer Skills…many persons use this service to become familiar with the “machine” in order to obtain a job in today’s workplace
► Citizenship
► Workplace Based Classes:  ESL services delivered on site at processing plants and at Schwan’s plant.
► Previously we provided a Family Literacy program but funding reductions forced us to close this program.

I would suggest to this committee that you receive an awesome Bang for your Buck through these services.   You see not just literacy skill enhancement happens.  You see ESL instructors helping students make doctor  appointments, helping fill out forms, helping with bank questions, helping parents connect with their child’s school….or the ABE agency helps  these adults by referring them  to other resources who can assist in these matters.

You see GED instructors helping GED students connect with colleges as most have little or no family support to pursue any further education.  As I said money invested in ABE gives quite a bang for its buck.

I would like to highlight the need to consider the importance of investing financially in ABE programs…..

Not only through this service does an individual gain skills to succeed in today’s world       


ABE is one of the key players in providing a viable workforce to allow for our state’s Economic growth.

There looms in the near future a workforce shortage statewide.  Matt Kramer, the Commissioner of MN DEED, has shared this fact many times.  This shortage of a viable employee pool is already begun in southwest and south central Minnesota.  The Marshall area is already at around only a 2% unemployment figure.  (Reference paper supporting this shortage created by MN DEED staff)

I would also share with you not only do we need more prepared persons to enter our workforce, but also many of our current workforce need to raise their literacy and math skills to allow businesses to compete in our world markets today.

I would encourage you to provide your support for a 3% increase in the ABE formula and an additional $3 million over 2 years for intensive ESL services for recent refugees.

With these additional funds ABE has a greater ability to help prepare our workforce for the demands made by businesses for competent workers….The end result being economic growth statewide.

Thank you for your time.

Provided by Barry Shaffer

Last week the Literacy Minnesota ABE bill was heard in the Minnesota Senate Early Childhood Committee.  Several individuals testified in support of the bill.

The speech given by Ms. Meda Paradise, an adult diploma graduate of the Hubbs Center in St. Paul, was amazingly powerful.  Her presentation in front of a formal Senate committee, with a room full of onlookers, was delivered in a trembling voice, with pauses to gain her composure – yet her words were clear and vivid as she described her personal struggle to become a “new American”.  I am hoping you can take a minute to read her message to the Senate and to us all – well beyond its intent of supporting the Adult Basic Education program, her speech is a lesson in humility and a reminder that most of us, only a few generations ago, had ancestors that took a similar, difficult path to come to America.

Click here to read this testimony
(PDF 57 KB)


Provided by Barry Shaffer

Here is the testimony provided by Tom Cytron-Hysom (St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium) and by Pat Thomas (SW Minnesota ABE) to the Minnesota Senate Early Childhood Committee last Thursday.

Tom’s testimony did a great job describing ABE in general and the reasons why ABE is good investment for Minnesota.  Pat’s presentation was an excellent description of how ABE is valued in Greater Minnesota, especially with regard to the workforce.  Pat and Tom spoke succinctly and convincingly on your behalf to promote ABE statewide and in support of the Literacy Minnesota ABE funding bill.

Click here to read this testimony
(PDF 45 KB)



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

E-Mail:Marshall Adult Education