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New Focus For Adult Learning Center

Published January 24, 2018

The Dodge City Community College Adult Learning Center (ALC) has been a part of the community for approximately 83 years.  The ALC has always been an educational facility focused on helping the residents of Dodge City obtain their GED and/or learn English.  Working under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the ALC was tasked with being a starting point for many in Dodge City to make changes in their lives and employment.  In 2014, the Workforce, Innovation, and Opportunity Act (WIOA) replaced WIA and goals shifted in another direction.

WIA always assumed that acquiring a GED or learning to speak and understand English would improve the employment and earnings of those served by the ALC.  It was found that, oftentimes, improvement was intangible and didn’t translate into a measurable achievement.  Improvement could be found in being able to talk to the doctor or earning that extra percentage on a paycheck. Sometimes, improvement was simply retaining a job. WIOA took the spirit of the previous law and created a prescription for expectations to become a reality.

The new law now warrants that English learning classes also include workplace skills such as math and computer science.  The evolving purpose of the ALC is workplace and career training.  At the onset of the new fiscal year, the Center aligned with agencies across the state to focus on employment as the objective for all who attended classes at the Adult Learning Center.

To this end, the ALC is beginning to implement into its classes the prerequisite skills and vocabulary necessary for certain occupations or training programs.  Pathways that lead directly to jobs or training are being explored as well.   This added concentration couldn’t be done without input from area employers.

The phrase, “it takes a village,” is now cliché and trite but it still maintains a kernel of truth.  Without partnerships with local employers, the ALC will fall short of being a component of workforce success.  The ALC is dedicated to seeing its students be successful in the workplace or in a secondary training program, but the Center must have the input of the whole community to deliver a productive curriculum for students to be able to answer the needs of the community.

The ALC is moving towards partnerships with businesses so that the Center can better fulfill the needs of local employers. If the efforts of the ALC missed contacting any area employers, those employers are invited to call or stop by the Adult Learning Center at 700 Ave G to discuss creating a partnership with the ALC.