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Column: What is Adult Basic Education?

By Marty Olsen, District 518

WORTHINGTON — ABE is the acronym for Adult Basic Education. Adult Basic Education is an educational program for any individual who is at least 17 years old, is not enrolled in school, and wants to improve their basic skills in reading, writing, math, listening and speaking. We offer many options to help adult learners achieve their goals at the West Learning Center in Worthington. These include the following programs:

  • GED (General Educational Development) is a high school equivalency exam. We provide instruction to help individuals develop the skills necessary for passing the tests. Students must complete exams in the areas of English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math.

  • ESL (English as a Second Language) is for students who want to learn to speak, read and write English. Our classes include vocabulary building, grammar instruction, comprehension, speaking and listening instruction, as well as focusing on some basic civics concepts including work skills and how to be a good citizen. We offer leveled instruction, placing learners in a class that will best meet their needs.

  • Citizenship classes are for students who want to study for the U.S. Citizenship Interview. We provide instruction on U.S. History and Government, assist with building understanding of the questions on the citizenship application and help students with learning the “100 Questions” that can be asked as part of the interview.

  • Computer Skills instruction is available every Tuesday from 8:30 to 1:30 in our computer lab. Interested individuals are given a digital literacy assessment to ascertain areas for study, and then assignments to be completed on the computer to help them build their skills.

  • Career Pathway training provides students with the opportunity to take a college course with support from an ABE teacher. Our Healthcare Pathway includes training and college classes that lead to a career in healthcare. Training in this pathway includes Certified Nursing Assistant, Medical Terminology, Trained Medication Aide and Community Interpreter training. This grant-funded program can provide classes to eligible learners at no cost.

Last year we enrolled 962 students who attended more than 66,000 hours. We offer classes Monday through Thursday, morning, afternoon, and evening, and Friday mornings, to accommodate varying work schedules. On any of these days we may have more than 150 students come through our classrooms. To make it possible for our students to attend classes, we do offer busing and child care while parents are attending class. We also offer classes in Fulda, Luverne, Chandler and Pipestone.

We offer an orientation for new students who are interested in attending classes about twice a month. During the orientation, students will learn more about our program offerings and take some entry tests to help us determine the best classes for them to attend. To schedule an orientation, call 376-6105.

Marty Olsen is District 518’s Adult Basic Education coordinator.

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