Hampton, CT, Nov. 13, 2017 - The Connecticut State Department of Education’s Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education has awarded EASTCONN $270,000 in federal funds, authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), to implement seven Program Enhancement Projects (PEP) for adult education throughout northeast Connecticut.
The funding will increase EASTCONN’s capacity to serve adults, ages 17 and older, who face significant barriers in accessing EASTCONN’s center-based classes in Willimantic and Danielson. All services provided through PEP are free for participants.
“These grants help us expand our reach in the region,” said EASTCONN Associate Director of Adult and Community Programs Kristin Hempel. “Many adults face obstacles, such as lack of childcare, when seeking to further their education or learn new job skills. We can help alleviate some of those concerns.”
PEP grants use strategies like mobile classrooms, child care, transportation, satellite classrooms and community partnerships to reach isolated populations.
Community partnerships include state-funded non-profit agencies, local boards of education, libraries and family resource centers that help facilitate PEP grants by assisting in student recruitment or providing class space in their facility.
“We are pleased to have the [Windham] Early Childhood Center serve as a host site for adult learning so that both the educational needs of our young students and their parents can be met at one time,” said Aliki Caraganis, Windham Public Schools’ Supervisor of Early Childhood Education. “These [PEP] funds provide the flexibility needed to adjust program models and times to best meet the needs of our Windham families. The addition of the evening Family Literacy/ESL class on Tuesdays and Thursdays has made learning opportunities more accessible to parents and has made our school a true community learning center.”
Each of EASTCONN’s seven PEP grants is designed to integrate workforce readiness skills into academic classes that prepare participants to pass the GED and/or improve their English language skills. Additionally, each project will connect students to health care and manufacturing career pathways identified by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) as in-demand industry sectors.
“The services that EASTCONN will offer through the PEP grants are those needed to help many of the jobseekers that come to the American Job Centers – in fact we are co-located in the Willimantic Center and will be co-located in the Danielson Center by Jan. 2, 2018,” stated Virginia Sampietro, EWIB’s Senior Director of Employment Development and Northeast Services.
Individual PEP grants will address English literacy, civics education, employability skills, parenting skills and technology.
In addition to administering PEP grants, EASTCONN’s adult and community programs, in collaboration with EWIB, provides extensive employment and training programs at the American Job Centers located in Willimantic (860-450-7603) and Danielson (860-779-3770). Free high school completion classes, free classes in U.S. citizenship and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and community education courses are also available. Call or learn more at www.eastconn.org/adultprograms.
EASTCONN is a public, non-profit Regional Educational Service Center, which has been serving the educational needs of northeastern Connecticut schools and communities since 1980. Learn more at www.eastconn.org.