WORTHINGTON - District 518 Community Education’s newest community classes and activities catalog hit mailboxes of district residents this week, and it includes new classes that organizers hope will take flight soon.
The catalog introduces the potential for a variety of vocational classes, which District 518 Community Education enrichment programs coordinator Anne Foley hopes will help spark interests in trades jobs - something she predicts will become increasingly important within the next 10 years as the aging workforce continues on to retirement.
“When they leave, we’re going to have these really expensive toys with no one to work on them,” she said. “I predict we’ll have this huge vacuum, where we’ll need people in 10 years to fill some really big shoes.”
In a partnership with Big Ideas, a nonprofit trade education program, Foley said community education has the potential to offer classes in carpentry, plumbing, welding, electrical, upholstery, culinary, commercial sewing, home maintenance, aviation and more. The classes would not result in certification, Foley said, but would be a class or series of classes that would help community members ages 13 and older learn a new trade for personal purposes - or for a gateway into a higher education program.
“It’s meant to spark an interest,” she said.
But before classes can begin, instructors are needed, Foley said. She noted that instructors would have access to curriculum and suggestions that have already been created by Big Ideas. Instructors would be compensated for their time.
In addition to the new classes, community education will also offer a variety of free family activities in the coming months. The family fun activities planned include:
- Family concert with youth entertainer Phil Baker, 6:30 p.m., Jan. 25, Prairie Elementary..
- Family ice skating, Feb. 23, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Worthington Arena.
- Family gym nights with Mike Marquardt, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 8 and March 22, Prairie Elementary.
- Family swim, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 26, Worthington Area YMCA.
- Read and Ride, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., May 5 begin at West Learning Center. Youth will enjoy reading a book together before taking to the trail around Lake Okabena on their own or borrowed bicycle.
Foley hopes the activities, which she said are sorely needed in Worthington, will promote quality family time without a cost.
“It is a lot of money to raise kids,” Foley said. “We wanted to provide activities for youth where we take away the barrier of cost.”
Activities will be paid for by a grant awarded by the Southwest Initiative Foundation, which also recently hosted a Grow Our Own summit in Marshall that addressed poverty and how to educate and retain young adults.
Around 40 to 50 Worthington community members attended the summit. Community Education will host a recap of the event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Hickory Lodge banquet room. The recap will allow those who attended the summit and those who didn’t to discuss possible events and activities or explore collaborations.
For more information about teaching or expressing interest in any of the classes, about any of the family activities or the Grow Our Own recap, contact Foley at 372-1204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.