Sen. Chris Rector, R-Thomaston joined adult learners at Regional School Unit 13’s Adult Learning Center to discuss literacy, local employment and health literacy. Rector toured the facility, located at McLain School in Rockland, to better understand the depth and breadth of adult education offerings in the area. “I have always been a supporter of adult education and know its vital role in strengthening the fabric of our economic, familial and social community. Today was a chance for me to hear the individual stories of adults who benefit from this important community resource,” Rector said in a press release.

Students at the learning center range in age from 16 to 70 and work on a variety of skill building including, GED preparation; literacy, health, beginning computers; English as a second language, and college preparation. RSU 13 collaborates with Literacy Volunteers of Mid-Coast Maine to provide direct instruction for students. Due to this partnership, students can work one-on-one with tutors in their area of academic need, and at their own pace. All services at the center are free and confidential. Rector has a deep personal tie to this agency as his father, Fred Rector, was an active literacy volunteer for several years.

Rector met with RSU13 Adult Education Director Shannon M. Parker to discuss the future of adult education and its role in the Many Flags initiative. “When we consider the future of economic development, adult education is a key factor in helping our adult citizens build skills and job readiness. Adult education is where we get the biggest bang for our buck,” Rector said. Many of the 200 students served annually at the RSU 13 site are returning to school after a long period of time in the workforce. Some are looking to enter college or change careers, while others attend the center to improve reading skills in order to more successfully engage in a child’s homework. “Adults who struggle with illiteracy and low skills often do not have a voice so it is vital that our state leaders speak for them,” said Parker.

The reasons behind learning center attendance are personal and powerful. For instance, Debbie, a local woman who struggled to read at the sixth-grade level, sought the help of adult education when she realized her 9-year-old son was a more fluent reader. She’d dropped out of school in tenth grade, but now realizes how important a credential is for employment and for her family. She attends the center faithfully everyday and took her first official GED test in language arts. Stories of adult academic success are common throughout Maine, due in large part to the coordinated local programs offered throughout the state.

For more information on RSU13’s Adult Learning Center, contact Literacy Volunteers of Mid-Coast Maine’s Executive Director Beth A. Gifford at 594-5154.