WORTHINGTON Adult Basic Education (ABE) has continued to serve students through the past year of COVID restrictions.

When the students were unable to attend class, due to being restricted to distance learning, several ABE teachers offered English classes via ZOOM. They used a curriculum through Burlington English that was designed to allow teachers to teach online, and also allowed students to practice their English using the program outside of class. Additionally, ABE offers several other online learning platforms that students can use from home to improve their English skills.

For students that lack a device to access the online classes, ABE has been able to loan out refurbished iPads. Classes have been meeting in-person since early January, but some students have chosen to continue accessing their class via ZOOM. The teachers have accommodated these students by offering classes both in-person and online simultaneously.

For students that want to study to take their GED (General Educational Development) high school equivalency exams, we offer both in-person classes and an online study program called GED Academy. Many of our students appreciate the opportunity to study at home, and the teachers regularly contact the students to ask if there are questions that the students have regarding their studies.

Career Pathway training provides students with the opportunity to take a college course, at no cost to eligible students, with support from an ABE teacher. These grant-funded training programs are a partnership between Adult Basic Ed, the Private Industry Council and Minnesota West CTC. They are designed to meet the needs of a local industry that is lacking in its workforce.

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Our Healthcare Pathway includes training that leads to a career in healthcare. Training in this pathway includes certified nursing assistant and trained medication aide. We are currently offering the CNA training, with the bridge preparation for the class being done via ZOOM. However, the instruction by the nurse will be able to be done in person at the college, as COVID restrictions have been lifted.

Our Community Interpreter Training is a regional partnership that includes our regular partners along with the addition of Mankato ABE and the South Central Workforce region. The classes started last week, with 28 students participating via ZOOM from Worthington, Marshall, Fairmont and Mankato. The face-to-face, in-person training by a trainer from ARCH Language Network will be done in June, with one week being offered in Mankato and one week being offered in Worthington. Each student will attend one 40-hour session at one of the sites. Following the training, they will have the opportunity to complete an oral proficiency interview. Completion of all components of this training will lead to them receiving a certificate as a trained interpreter.

We are also offering a welding class starting in May. This class will be offered in-person in Worthington, and will include instruction by the ABE teacher in blueprint reading.

For more information on any of our programs, please contact me at 727-1239.

Marty Olsen is District 518's adult basic education coordinator.