By Steven Fletcher Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — Local residents seeking to earn their General Equivalency high school diploma at night now have a means of doing that right here in Gloucester.
Nonprofit Action Inc. opened three adult education classes earlier this month, all geared at helping residents earn their GED.
The agency opened the classes through a Department of Elementary and Secondary education grant it sought with North Shore Community College, drawing $44,800 in grant funds, with an agency match to launch the Adult Community Learning Center at the Action offices on Pleasant Street.
Action’s Director of Job Training and Education Shari Cornett said the classes will help low-income residents earn education they need to find better work. Most employers, she said, require a General Education Diploma, or GED. With unemployment up and a gap between the skills residents have and employers need growing, Cornett said educational programs like this are needed on Cape Ann.
“(There’s a) growing gap between what employers need and what employees know,” Cornett said. “People are finding themselves needing to go back to school, and this is a step in that direction.”
Many job training programs, she said, require a GED or at least further education for entry. She said Action’s classes could be a stepping stone into those kind of programs, like the Home Health Aide training it runs. At the end of the GED courses, Cornett said Action staff will work with students to connect them with the North Shore Career Center.
Action started three classes at the center on Oct. 2. The agency is running an Adult Basic Education class, Pre-GED class and a GED class. The courses go through June 30. The grant funds the two GED courses, and Action funds the basic education course.
According to an Action release, North Shore Community College has tried to start an adult basic education course in Gloucester for a few years.
“NSCC has been working to develop a partnership with Gloucester for many years,” said Laura Ventimiglia, the college’s dean of Academic Assessment and a Gloucester resident.
Action Executive Director Tim Riley said these kind of classes are needed in Gloucester, according to a release from the agency. It’s hard for residents, especially low-income residents to get to similar programs in Danvers or Boston, especially if they don’t have cars.
”It can be very difficult for many Cape Ann residents, especially those living on limited incomes, to get down to Danvers or Boston for this type of training,”
Action’s course, said Cornett, is the only nighttime GED course on Cape Ann.
”It’s obviously a need,” said Cornett, “we have a waiting list already.”
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.