Literacy programs in Fort St. John are giving adult learners the opportunity to connect with their community, calculate interest on a car loan, read labels and fill out forms.
“Developing stronger reading, writing, math or computer skills can help people transform their lives and explore the possibility of higher education,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, who visited the Fort St. John Literacy Society. “Investing in literacy skills in communities like Fort St. John and throughout the province unlocks the potential in people's lives and shows them a whole new world of possibilities.”
Mark announced $126,000 in funding to flow through Northern Lights College (NLC) to support eight community adult literacy program partners in the region, including $24,780 for Fort St. John Literacy Society.
“The programs we offer to people respond directly to their learning needs so they can move forward, unlock their potential and contribute to our community,” said Jessica Kalman, executive director and literacy outreach co-ordinator with the Fort St. John Literacy Society. “It’s exciting to see literacy in our community improve and people achieve their goals, whether it’s getting a driver’s licence, writing an exam or just building up their confidence.”
It is estimated more than 700,000 people in B.C. have significant challenges with literacy.
NLC is partnering with eight community literacy providers to connect adult learners with the skills they need to build a strong future for themselves, their families and their community. Literacy providers and post-secondary institutions collaborate to support improved outcomes and encourage transition from programs delivered in the community to post-secondary studies.
“The college has a strong partnership with literacy providers in the region, helping residents work towards a better life for themselves and their families,” said Bryn Kulmatycki, president of NLC. “Community adult literacy programs allow adult learners to learn close to home in an informal setting that is welcoming and familiar. For many learners, it is the first step towards achieving a post-secondary education.”
Available literacy programs include one-on-one tutoring and small group training for adult learners, often delivered by volunteers. Smaller, community-based literacy programs are well situated to meet the educational needs of adult learners.
A total of $2.4 million for 101 community adult literacy programs will help adult learners in 75 communities in 2018-19.
The government’s support of community-based literacy programs is part of its commitment to connect people with the education and training they need to succeed. On Aug. 8, 2017, the Province also made adult upgrading and English language learning programs in B.C. tuition-free.
A backgrounder follows.