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Adult education coalition solicits input from community members

Sun Advocate publisher

A tutor works with a student on developing reading skills. Literacy provides the foundation for all educational achievements. The Carbon County Adult Education Coalition is concentrating on expanding the reading programs available to non-traditional students at local libraries, the jail and the schools.

The Carbon County Adult Education Coalition was formed by the school district several years ago to act as an advisory board for programs designed to assist adult learners in the local area.

The coalition is currently encouraging residents help in determining needs in the community.

"We are faced with a number of questions that we are not sure those on the committee can completely answer," explained Judy Mainord, who works in adult education for the school district and chairs the committee.

"We need input from the community about a number of things so we can head in the right direction," continued Mainord

While some people sneer at adult education, many others swear by the program.

Each year, dozen of participants graduate from the school district's adult education program. Last spring the graduation ceremony included nearly 100 people.

"The studies all show that income levels throughout the average person's life is determined by income levels," explained Mainord. "For those who have high school diplomas, they earn $10,000 more a year than those that don't. And for each year of college attained, that amount goes up almost an equal amount."

Despite the fact that Carbon County has a junior college with a Utah State University program on the campus in Price, the number of people with college degrees living in the county continues to drop.

But the college degree situation pales in the face of the fact that around 2,700 local residents 25 years old do not have a high school diploma.

And for many of the residents, a significant obstacle to working toward a degree is literacy.

Basic literacy programs in the county have expanded in recent years with the school district and the libraries banding to teach people to read.

The jail in Carbon County also has a literacy program because it was found that many prisoners cannot read, which tends to create problems in people's lives.

But the coalition committee requires additional information as to what is needed in the community.

The panel's membership is comprised of representatives from workforce services, the county housing authority, the libraries, the school district, adult probation and parole along with a number of other agencies.

The members want to know what people in the community want and the residents of the county are the only ones who can answer the questions.

The committee's questions include:

•What are the needs of the adult learners in Carbon County?

In asking the question, the committee realizes that some things are being done for adult learners.

But the members of the adult education advisory panel want to find out what isn't being done that would help people or add to their lives?

•What services are residents aware of that are provided for adult learners in the community?

There are many kinds of things going on, but the committee wants to know how many of them people know about and what they don't know about so they can get the word out.

•What additional or improved services are needed for adult learners in the county?

What could be added that would add to the lives of those in the area?

•How could existing adult services be improved or enhanced?

Are there extra programs needed?

Is the communication of the programs available to the public getting through?

The committee would also like to hear from people about any other comments they may have concerning adult education.

For more information or to give the committee answers concerning adult learning programs readers can contact Judy Mainord at 637-1732 or e-mail her at

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