Adult Education & Literacy Success Stories
Read real-life examples below of how employers and individuals have found workplace success through the Adult Education and Literacy Program.
Career Learning Center of the Black Hills Success
Cornerstones Career Learning Center Success
LATI Watertown AEL Student Success
Lutheran Social Services Successes
The Right Turn Success
Career Learning Center of the Black Hills
Career Learning Center of the Black Hills Success Stories
Additional Stories - Career Learning Center of the Black Hills
Michael | AEL Partner Story
Michael will be the first to admit his educational path was full of obstacles. He spent time completely homeless riding rails from one destination to another. Upon entering the GED® preparatory classes, he shared his hopelessness and his abundant amount of self-doubt. Staff were apprehensive about Michael’s resolve to participate and persevere. He was persuaded to take part in a CPR/First-Aid class given for students contemplating work in the health care industry. The course reignited Mike’s passion for caring for others and suggested he might like to consider becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and continuing in the Paramedic training. The same afternoon, Michael submitted an application to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board for their Health Pathways Occupations Grant (HPOG) to assist in acquiring the necessary training.
Michael developed a professional resume with the assistance of Priscilla, an Employment Specialist at the CLC. He had also been assisted by Kevin, an Employment Specialist at the Rapid City Job Service. He applied for a Build Dakota Scholarship and was chosen as a recipient, covering 100% of tuition, fees, and necessities of the program.
Michael has flourished and has become a positive leader for other GED® students.
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Ashley | AEL Partner Story
Ashley began at the Career Learning Center in November 2019 to earn her GED® credential and has one more left to take. With the support of the center, she enrolled in the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board Pathways to Healthcare Program to get her Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) and Med-Aide certifications. When she became a first-time mother in January 2020 and had to stay home for a couple of months, the Career Learning Center provided GED® study worksheets and materials on medical terminology for her upcoming coursework. She plans to enroll at Western Dakota Tech in the Fall of 2020 and earn her Nursing degree.
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Cornerstones Career Learning Center
Adriana | AEL Partner Story, Yankton
Adriana began studying English and transitioned into GED® prep classes. Adriana was enrolled in four classes, worked full time at a hotel where she manages and trains employees, and a mother who is very involved with her child's academic and athletic activities. In addition, she volunteers with Connecting Cultures, a group that "creates connections that cultivate a community that celebrates cultural diversity in Great Yankton" and the Yankton Literacy Council. Adriana says the classes have improved her communication skills, which is important in both her job and volunteer activities. During her time at Cornerstones, Adriana advanced in her job and taken on leadership responsibilities. Being bi-lingual has been an asset to making her workplace accessible to Spanish-speaking employees. Adriana has played a big part in making Yankton more accessible to English language learners by being active in the community and through translating and interpreting. Adriana would like to pursue a degree in Nursing after earning her GED®.
Say Moo Paw | AEL Partner Story, Huron
Say Moo Paw has been has successfully moved from beginning to advanced level English Language Acquisition classes. She is dedicated to learning English to improve her life and the lives of her daughters. Say Moo Paw is is one of the hardest working people we have met in this program and through this determination, she leads others by example. Say Moo Paw works full time and long hours at Dakota Provisions in Huron, but she is always to class on time. During the pandemic she purchased a laptop to continue learning over Zoom, of which she has become very adept at using. She tragically lost her husband and is now a single mom, but has never missed a class. She is an active member of her church and providing encouragement to others is very central to her life. Her goal with the education is to get a job with better hours to be more flexible in raising her three daughters. In the face of many challenges, Say Moo Paw has demonstrated a willingness to overcome and make a better life for herself and her daughters.
Martina | AEL Partner Story, Aberdeen
Tin started studying with Cornerstones in November 2019. She is a single mother raising two children. After leaving a tumultuous relationship, she made up to her mind to get her GED® and continue on to college. Tina took her first three tests during the first year of the program and passed them all. She struggled with Math, but found a tutor and was able to pass the test on the fourth try, she did not give up. She said passing the tests and obtaining her GED® was the biggest boost she had has in a long time and is looking forward to building a better life for her and her children. Tina is planning to study counseling and eventually become a clinical psychologist.
Jimmy | AEL Partner Story, Mitchell
Jimmy has a goal to get his GED® and become a police officer. Life has been a struggle for Jimmy. He grew up with an alcoholic father, he was bullied as a kid and quit school. He has worked as a farm worker, ranch hand and security officer. Seven years ago, Jimmy suffered a debilitating stroke which required surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain. He had to relearn to walk and talk, simple things that many of us take for granted. He did not give up. Jimmy is a dedicated student and consistently attends multiple classes a day. He contributes to discussions and is quick to offer his thoughts and ideas.
Emmanuel | AEL Partner Story
Emmanuel is enrolled in a Workplace English Language class. The class helps him not only speak with his co-workers and boss, but also when he needs to talk to his doctor or someone at a store. He believes his hard work and English helped him get a raise.
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LATI Watertown AEL Student Success
Shirley | AEL Partner Story, GED testing
Shirley was referred to the Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) Watertown Adult Education Program by the Watertown Job Service staff. She was a 56-year-old woman needing her GED® and a new job as a result of a layoff. Shirley is an inspiration and an example of achieving goals no matter your age, or how long you have been out of school or what obstacles get in the way.
Her TABE assessment showed she needed to raise her levels in reading and math. Shirley was determined to succeed. She drove 58 miles round trip every day, no matter what the weather. Every level increase she made was a great achievement for her. Within six months she raised her math over three grade levels. During the time of her study she earned the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), obtained employment through On-the-Job Training, and continued to attend class.
The GED® testing did not come easy for Shirley. She had to retake one of the official GED tests before she took and passed all four. With assistance of DLR, she became a LATI student and is scheduled to graduate in 2018.
Shirley is a woman displaying great perseverance and one who inspired many other students and given them confidence in reaching their goals. “You’re never too old to start over!” says Shirley.
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Lutheran Social Services Success
Timas | AEL Partner Story
Timas arrived in the U.S. in May 2019 from Sudan. He is grateful for the English and job classes Lutheran Social Services Center for New Americans has provided. The classes have given him the chance to communicate with people from all over the world. He has learned many things he did not know before, especially about workplace safety and job interviews. He has already been on two interviews in the first four months since resettling in the U.S.
Canab | AEL Partner Story, English as a Second Language
Canab, a single mother, came to Sioux Falls from her native, war-torn home of Somalia in 2009. Before coming to America, Canab had no opportunity to go to school or gain literacy in her native language. Losing a parent at a young age, she was responsible to care for the family.
The DLR Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program provided Canab with English language acquisition classes focused on oral and literacy skills development. Through these classes, Canab progressed from the most beginner level of English up to the intermediate oral proficiency and emerging proficiency in literacy. She became confident and capable of talking with anyone she met. She then participated in an English for Citizenship Class which successfully prepared her to pass the U.S. Naturalization interview and become a U.S. citizen in 2016. Canab achieved her goal of obtaining employment with a local hospital as a janitor.
Canab is called upon to train new staff and serve as a weekend team leader because of her reliability and patient encouragement for new staff members. Her goal is to focus on further improving her literacy skills so she can own her own business one day. Canab also wants to speak English more clearly so everyone can understand her as she fully integrates and serves others in the community.
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The Right Turn Success
Colby | AEL Partner Story, GED®
Colby came to the Right Turn already working a full-time job. He has dropped out of high school about 40 years ago, worked full-time, got married and had a family, and put the idea of continued education behind him. His employer discovered Colby did not have a high school diploma or GED® and was unable to give him a promotion. The employer didn't want to lose Colby, so they paid for Colby to earn his GED® so he could stay at his job and be eligible for promotion in the future. Colby's reading level is very high, but he had forgotten most of high school math. Through one-on-one lessons, he learned math, passed the test and earned his GED®. A few weeks later, Colby earned a promotion and several more, all because he made the effort to get his GED®. Colby realized now "he had value", something he didn't realize all those years and how it had impacted his self-esteem and future. Colby is very proud of himself. He visits the center often and has spoken to legislators about his experience.
Marlene | AEL Partner Story, National Career Readiness Certificate
Marlene moved to Pierre in 2012 from a suburb just north of Chicago. She was in a new community and without a clear direction to start to look for work. After working part time in a few positions and feeling unfulfilled, she wanted to find a full-time job with benefits to help achieve her personal and professional goals.
Her first visit to the Pierre Job Service opened the door to SDWORKS, a job resource more extensive than the newspaper want ads. Her Employment Specialist prepared her for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) pre-test to supplement her resume for the jobs she wanted. She was referred to The Right Turn for the official test. After receiving her NCRC she was called for several interviews and received offers. “I finally felt I was in a position to make some better choices to achieve my goals,” She Said.
Marlene ended up accepting a position with The Right Turn, Inc. where she can achieve her goals and help others achieve theirs.
Mary at The Right Turn, who hired Marlene, highly recommends the NCRC because it saves employers time and money. From an employer perspective, the NCRC helps to screen for qualified job applicants assures the employer that a person has the essential skills they need to learn a job. It saves the mistake of hiring someone who is skills deficient.
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