13% of adult Arkansans have no high school diploma. Over 40,000 Arkansans can’t speak English with confidence. Of those who don’t speak English well, 69% have no high school diploma, according to the Department of Education. This adds up to a serious need for adult education. Arkansas Adult Education, a division of the Department of Career Education, held their second annual statewide open house this week to help make sure that those who need adult ed are aware of their options.
Trenia Miles, deputy director of Arkansas Adult Education, told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “We felt we weren’t really reaching as many people as we probably could or should be. So we want to give people an opportunity to come and learn about the services we offer.”
OLC’s open house
Ozark Literacy Council, along with Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) and Northwest Technical Institute (NTI) took part in the open house.
“The council held its open house Thursday night,” the Democrat Gazette reported. They also quoted Executive Director Patty Sullivan’s assurance that the OLC “is regularly an open house.”
“Our mission is welcoming all adults to language and literacy,” Sullivan told reporter Dave Perozek. “People are welcome every day. We call it ‘radical hospitality.'”
Making people feel welcome helps with successful literacy and English as a Second Language instruction. The Ozark Literacy Council relies on a small staff and dozens of volunteers, so a satisfying experience for everyone who comes to the building is an essential part of the Council’s success.
The Ozark Literacy Council has been serving people in Northwest Arkansas since 1964. Last year OLC served 380 individuals needing literacy instruction. That includes English language and literacy, but also financial and workforce literacy, and health and civic literacy. This expanded definition of literacy allows the Council to help students meet more of their their life goals while providing English as a Second Language instruction.