Adult Education and Family Literacy Week shines a light on those continuing their education
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - More than 40,000 adults in South Dakota do not have a high school diploma or equivalency, and by 2024, 48% of jobs nationally will require at least that.
“And that means that we have got to fill some educational gaps,” said Stephenie Rittenberger, the program coordinator at the Career Learning Center of the Black Hills.
Here, they focus on adult learners with English as a second language, GED preparation, and adult basic education, “and those focus on literacy skills, digital literacy, math, and reading skills. The other thing that we really do is help people to brush up to go to college. So, if students have not taken an Accuplacer yet, or maybe have taken an Accuplacer and would go into classes that are not credit barring, we try to make sure that we’re insuring they’re going to pass into classes that won’t eat up their federal financial aid,” said Rittenberger.
Rittenberger believes adult education is important for many reasons including; low-skilled adults are twice as likely to be unemployed, 8 times more likely to be incarcerated, and 3 times more likely to live in poverty.
“We need to make sure that it’s very inclusive for those struggling in the crisis of poverty, those students who are in different minorities, and that we’re making sure that they have access to the kind of learning that they need to help them upscale and be ready for the jobs that are going to be available,” said Rittenberger.
The center works with the students to set up programs related to their interests, increase their skill levels and put their best foot forward.
“We want them to know that they are going to be taken care of from the moment that they walk into the door till the moment they leave through all kinds of processes that it takes to learn.”
Rittenberger is grateful to have a week dedicated to adult education because it’s never too late to learn something new.
“You are investing in your own human capital. It’s a great investment to make because futuristically all it’s going to do is help you to improve the situation you’re currently in and hopefully help you to find a career that you love and enjoy and find some passion in instead of just a job,” Rittenberger explained.”
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