New Lease on Lakeshore's Adult Education
New Lease on Lakeshore's Adult Education
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2011
New Lease On Lakeshore’s Adult Education
Maureen Brown, Public Relations Manager, Huntington Bank, , (614) 480-5512
Michael O’Connor, Director of Sparta Adult Education, Sparta Area Schools, (616) 887-7321,
Joel Westmaas, Program Supervisor, Ottawa County Michigan Works, (616) 494-8828, email@example.com
The footprint of adult education along the lakeshore just grew by 3100 square feet! Thanks to Huntington Bank, Sparta Adult Education Services will be expanding its presence at 115 Clover Street in Holland, into new offices at the same location.
And because of its partnership of services with the West Michigan Strategic Alliance and the Thompson M-TEC of Holland, this new expansion of space and services will be known as the Lakeshore Adult Learning Center.
Until recently, Sparta Adult Education accommodated 50 General Education Development (GED) and English As a Second Language (ESL) students in 900 square feet of space provided by Ottawa County Michigan Works! at its administrative offices on Clover Street in Holland. Its offices comprise half of the second floor of 115 Clover Street.
Ottawa County Michigan Works! currently leases this space from Huntington Bank. The Sparta program has been provided an office and a large conference room in which to provide support services and deliver classes.
In addition to regular GED and ESL classes, adult education in Ottawa County was enhanced this past year by the addition of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance’s Literacy to Work Initiative. The Literacy to Work Initiative is a collaborative model that is funded by a grant from the Walmart Foundation and administered by the West Michigan Strategic Alliance.
The Initiative includes components such as career coaching, WorkKeys testing, computer literacy and employability skills training, provided by the Thompson M-TEC in Holland. Huntington Bank has also been a primary partner in providing financial literacy classes to adult learners.
Four days a week, a total of 50 students utilize a large conference room for ESL and GED activities. Also, along one wall is a bank of computers used for a variety of activities including employability skills training and computer literacy. In addition, students receive a variety of customized support services through career coaching, designed to improve academic gains and employability.
“It can be cramped at times, and we often must separate activities since we can have only one thing going on at a time, “says Steve Machiele, Sparta Adult Education instructor. “Currently there’s not much room to spread out. This new space will allow us to do three different activities at once, accommodating more students at the same time. This will be an added convenience to the students, who often must juggle schedules to come to school. Plus the addition of natural light will provide a welcome, more traditional classroom feel.”
“This suite of offices used to be a bank,” says Deb Huggins, Manager of Adult Training at the Thompson M-TEC. “There is a big walk-in vault currently used for storage. It’s in that vault that our Career Coaches would have their one-on-one meetings with students. They and their students will be very happy to meet now in a real office with windows.”
As the landlord of 115 Clover Street, Huntington Bank has agreed to provide the open suite of second floor office and open space to Ottawa County Michigan Works! for the purpose of serving adult learners. For its part, Ottawa County Michigan Works! will continue to absorb the costs of administrative, IT and facility support, utilities and general maintenance. All together this provides a total of 4000 square feet of classroom and workspace to support adult ed students who are working towards their education and employment goals.
"Huntington is delighted to donate space for the Lakeshore Adult Learning Center," said Jim Dunlap, president of Huntington's West Michigan region. "Huntington is committed to West Michigan. We believe that adult education is a critical part of the area's efforts to help develop and maintain a strong workforce."
“The Literacy to Work Initiative fills the gap for unemployed or underemployed individuals in need of adult education services,” states Jessica Materson, Literacy to Work Project Manager with the West Michigan Strategic Alliance. “Students who enter the program seeking a GED in order to apply for a job, now graduate the program with an employment portfolio which includes their GED, resume, other certificates earned in the program, and a clear plan on how to reach their educational and career goals, not to mention more self-confidence. It’s moved students from seeking ‘just a job’ to finding their career.”
Since the education level and employability skills of the local workforce are key ingredients for economic development and the prosperity of our citizens, Ottawa County Michigan Works! and its partners are grateful to Huntington Bank for its generous contribution of space at 115 Clover Street in Holland. The entire community as well as the wider region will benefit as a result of this cooperative effort.
Sparta Adult Education Services is expanding its footprint at 115 Clover Street in Holland. The newly acquired space will be known as the Lakeshore Adult Learning Center located at 115 Clover Street, Suite 201 in Holland.
For more information please call (616) 494-8803 or visit miottawa.org/michiganworks > Lakeshore Adult Learning Center.