Adult Education Grants Awarded

BERLIN – Two local adult education providers have received more than $524,000 in combined grant funding from the Maryland Department of Labor.

Last week, the Maryland Department of Labor announced its selection of 25 adult education providers to receive $16.8 million in combined federal and state funds. Wor-Wic Community College received $298,972, while Worcester County Public Schools received $225,737.

Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said the recipients will use the funds – awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Labor – to continue expanding access to adult education opportunities for Marylanders in the areas of adult basic and secondary education, English language acquisition and civics education.

“Labor is excited to provide funding to these organizations that provide essential instructional services to help adult learners achieve their personal and professional goals,” she said. “By investing in and increasing access to adult education programs across the state, we are helping Marylanders obtain the skills they need to build a better future for themselves, their families, and our state’s workforce.”

Angela Paris, coordinator of instruction for Worcester County Public Schools, said the funding will allow the school system’s adult education program to continue providing educational, diploma and employment opportunities. Through the Maryland Department of Labor grant, Worcester County Public Schools offers Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, Maryland iPathways, Corrections and Distance Learning programs.

“We work with learners to help them meet their economic, educational, family or societal/community goals,” she said. “Our program provides instruction and support to those preparing for the GED test and the U.S. Citizenship test. We work with English learners to not only strengthen their English language acquisition skills, but to increase their participation in their child’s education, improve workplace performance and become life-long learners.”

She continued, “While our program provides supports to reach one’s individualized goals, we also strive to build a stronger, better-qualified local workforce through focused instruction on workplace skills and digital literacy. Our partnership with the American Job Center provides students with access to job fairs, trainings and career advancement opportunities.”

Denean Jones-Ward, director of continuing education and workforce development at Wor-Wic, said the $298,972 grant award will support the college’s adult education services for Wicomico County residents seeking a high school diploma or who want to increase their language acquisition skills. She noted the grant funding is $90,742 less than what was received in fiscal year 2020.

“The college has been selected as the grantee since July 1, 2014,” she said. “In FY20, we served a total of 638 students. The funding allows students to take the classes for free. Additional opportunities for our adult learners after they achieve their goals include transitioning to postsecondary education, enrolling in job training and/or securing stabilized employment.”

Paris said the school system’s adult education program is currently accepting online registration. For more information, visit, email [email protected], or call 410-632-5071.

For more information on Wor-Wic’s adult education services, contact Denean Jones-Ward at [email protected] or call 410-334-2815.

Face-to-face and distance learning classes are ongoing.

Gov. Larry Hogan this week also announced $10 million in grant awards for Maryland’s 16 community colleges to expand education opportunities and workforce development programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, Wor-Wic received $401,217 in grant funding.

“Thanks to our state’s world-class academic community, Maryland continues to be home to one of the most highly educated workforces in America,” Hogan said. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we offer all Marylanders every opportunity to get the tools they need to stay competitive in the job market, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The GEER Fund is a federal grant for governors to support and assist local education agencies, higher education institutions, and other educational entities with emergency assistance due to COVID-19, and is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Hogan has committed $45.7 million in GEER funding to wide-ranging education initiatives, as well as an additional $300 million for K-12 and higher education through the CARES Act.

The grant funding will help community colleges expand workforce development courses and continue professional education that leads to government or industry certification or licensure, particularly focused on individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through loss of employment.

Each college can use the funding to support direct student aid, curriculum, salaries and wages, professional development and student recruitment, among other things.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.