Walker County Certified Work Ready Grant Program Offers Residents New Tools For Improving Literacy & Work Skills

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walker County residents seeking to improve their literacy or work skills are encouraged to check out new software and books available at the local technical college and public libraries.

Walker County received a $10,000 Certified Work Ready grant through the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to boost literacy and high school graduation rates, to support workforce development and to strengthen ties with local chambers and businesses by solidifying their support of the Georgia Work Ready Program.  Funds were used to purchase software and books such as GED study guides, ACT and SAT study guides, practice test software and software that helps unemployed residents bridge the gaps in their education to equip them better when re-entering the job market. 

Plato software’s “greatest contribution to the literacy program is that it reaches down to the very low functioning student with 21st Century technology,” said Susan Hackney, vice president of adult education for Georgia Northwestern Technical College, or GWNTC. The software is available through the adult education program GNWTC’s Rock Spring campus.

“Plato software provides the greatest depth and breadth of curriculum offerings for basic skills and secondary education skills leading into GED graduation and postsecondary transitions of any product we have examined,” she said. “The content covers grade levels approximately second grade through postsecondary, which makes it appropriate for the wide range of skills that adult education students have when they enter our classrooms.” 

Plato’s content can be tailored into targeted instruction for important tests, such as the GED, TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education), COMPASS (the entrance exam for Georgia Northwestern), other college entrance exams, WorkKeys and the ASVAB, the entrance exam for the U.S. Armed Services, she said.

With the grant, GNWTC purchased 24 licenses for the software, which automatically constructs a sequence of lessons based on the ability level of students, or instructor can manipulate it to meet specific needs that change constantly with each new student group at the college, she said.  Plato tracks student progress and creates reports to assist instructors in giving positive feedback to students; the software also has built in motivational prompts.

The Cherokee Regional Library System acquired two new online resources with grant funds, which will be available at the branches in Chickamauga, LaFayette and Rossville. 

“Cypress Resume is an online service that takes users step-by-step through the resume writing process,” said Chelsea Kovalevskiy, youth education coordinator for the LaFayette-Walker County Public Library. “The service has resume templates for hundreds of different professions.

“Users search through the database to select the profession for which they are applying, and the end result is a personalized, professional resume written entirely by the Cypress Resume service,” Ms. Kovalevskiy said.  “The service can be accessed for free from any computer with an Internet connection.”

The LearningExpress Library is an online learning platform that has helped millions of library patrons and students prepare for a wide range of career-oriented licensing and certification exams in health care, education, civil service, homeland security and much more, she said.

LearningExpress also has interactive tutorials to help users improve basic skills in reading, writing and math, as well as prepare for tests such as the GED, ACT and SAT.

“The innovative platform includes self-paced interactive study, instant scoring and diagnostic feedback, and can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection,” she said. “This platform will be an excellent resource for students of all ages, tutoring services, GED instructors, homeschool families and much more.”

Each library branch also purchased print books to supplement the youth literature department, a set of college financial aid books for reference and ACT, SAT and GED preparation books, she said.

Chickamauga library purchased books missing from its classic literature section, while Rossville purchased Georgia Peach Award selections, she said.  LaFayette purchased books from the Georgia Peach Award and much needed copies of books that are required reading for LaFayette High School students.

Seven Walker County residents received scholarships to cover the cost for their GED testing with grant funds. 

The Walker County Certified Work Ready team members were Rhonda Beasley, Roper Corp.; Judy Holcomb, Georgia Department of Labor LaFayette office; Stephanie Snodgrass, Walker County Chamber of Commerce; and team leader Catherine Edgemon, City of LaFayette.


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