OCTC SkillTrain, Daviess Countys primary GED and adult English as a Second Language (ESL) provider, is looking for volunteers to serve as GED tutors and ESL classroom assistants. Each year, SkillTrain provides small-group and one-on-one tutoring to over 500 adults in English language, reading, writing, and math skills. Volunteers will work alongside professional instructors to help participants enhance their basic academic and language skills.
SkillTrain Director, Lindsey Kafer, speaks to the value of volunteer tutors in adult literacy. The need for adult literacy instruction far exceeds our capacity to provide it. At any given time, only about 10% of the people who are eligible for adult education services are actually receiving those services. Thats true in Daviess County as it is across the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, GED and citizens that earn a high school diploma earn over $9,000 more per year on average than those without. According to Kafer, the achievement of a GED provides more than just a certificate and greater job opportunities for most students; it provides a boost of self-confidence and an increased desire to pursue even greater achievements.
We consistently see learners arrive anxious and test-averse. They come here because they want to better their lives and that of their family, but theyre nervous that they wont be able to accomplish their goals. Walking with them and encouraging them through the process and then celebrating once they do attain their GEDs is a great privilege. Were excited that we can now provide a way for other members of the community to join with us and experience that same joy.
In addition to GED instruction, SkillTrain hosts an English Language Acquisition program for refugees and immigrants alike. The program has flourished in the past five years since Owensboro became a refugee resettlement site. According to Kafer, Many individuals who come to the US as refugees have very little knowledge of English, and there is a significant number who have never even learned to read and write in their native languages. For many of them, their arrival in the US follows years of trauma where education simply wasnt available. We get to help them learn how to navigate their new community.
SkillTrain seeks to provide real-world English language skills that help refugees and immigrants alike communicate with doctors and nurses, their childs teachers, and those they meet at the bank or in the supermarket.
Community members who are interested in learning more about SkillTrains volunteer opportunities are welcomed to attend a volunteer information session on Tuesday, August 16, at either 9 a.m. or 6 p.m. Sessions are held at OCTCs Downtown Campus, located at 1501 Frederica Street. Please contact Lindsey Kafer at 270.686.3781 with questions or for more information.