Northern Nevada Literacy Council Helps Create New Workforce

 

Northern Nevada Literacy Council (NNLC) is a local nonprofit that seeks to educate adult learners and accepts students 17 years of age and older. NNLC’s free programming includes Citizenship classes, High School Equivalency (HSE) classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and Career Pathways, which helps students and graduates of HSE to further their education or find a career.

Susan Robinson, the Executive Director, expects an influx of new jobs in the Reno area. She said, “There’s 45,000 adults in Washoe County without a high school diploma, not children, adults. How many of those 45,000 people that live here already, how many of them can we educate and train to take those jobs?”

Robinson said that helping people get their high school diplomas and enter the workforce helps the economy as well as the individual.

Robinson urges people to consider taking HSE classes and recommends commiting to 50 hours of work. “We allow new people to start every two weeks. The average of our graduates has been five to six weeks [in class]. For some people it’s as little as one to two weeks,” said Robinson. Patty Aragona, the Career Pathways Coordinator, said, “It’s a short time, for a long term gain.”

HSE students and graduates can take advantage of the Career Pathways programming. Aragona said, “[Career Pathways] gives them a goal to shoot for, to complete their classes, get their equivalency, and know that there’s a next step.”

She said that programming helps students to become, “Excited about careers, seeing the difference in pay that they’ll get having their credential, and then their options that open for them once they get into higher education, as far as scholarships and financial aid.”

Robinson suggests that an important aspect of NNLC’s programming is creating a brighter future for the participants. She said, “We have to have the mentality and the position that it’s going to be about getting them a job, or into college, or into training.” Aragona added, “It’s to improve their quality of life.”

Robinson said she would like to see NNLC continue to grow. “We don’t have to stay here in the mothership, as I call it. We could have satellite classrooms,” said Robinson.

Aragona said she would like to see more of the community become involved with NNLC, suggesting University of Nevada students could teach there. Aragona said, “We love having volunteers for tutoring. I got my degree in education [at UNR], so I know that you need to have teaching hours. We could give them as many hours as they want.”

Robinson said, “When I started here five years ago, [NNLC] had about 290 students, and now we’re over a thousand.” Robinson would like for the trend to continue, and for the community to know what NNLC has to offer. NNLC is committed to increasing education and opportunities for adult learners in Nevada. According to Robinson, graduates often go on to attain higher paying jobs, more stable employment, and to attend college.

If you're interested in volunteering for the Northern Nevada Literacy Council email director@nnlc.org