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Spotlight on adult literacy

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Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre's Adult Literacy and Essential Skills program coordinator Wendy Woodhouse knows literacy is key for all ages.

It starts with children, and it continues with adults.

The Multi-Service Centre can provide adults with assistance for reading and writing skills, math, computer skills, and employability skills. The MSC can prepare you for high school credits, college-level skills training, and success in the job market. Participants achieve more confidence, greater independence, and perform better at their jobs.

"In our program, we provide training for adults who lack in basic and essential literacy skills," said Woodhouse. "When adults come to our program, they are seeking to upgrade their skills for many different goal areas. Those could be goals related to employment, independence, or further education training."

Program types available include one-to-one tutoring and small groups.

MSC also offers continuous entry, year-round programming, day and evening programs, sensitivity to individual needs, individual tutors, small groups and classes, and individual training programs.

For more information on the Adult Literacy and Essential Skills Program, visit the MSC website, email info@multiservicecentre.com or phone 519-842-9000.

Woodhouse notes 42 per cent of Canadians, according to the International Adult Literacy Survey, are unable to function effectively at home, at work, in the community because of their literacy skills.

"And 16 per cent of Ontarians struggle with very serious literacy challenges, have trouble reading even most basic text. Another 26 per cent can read, but not well enough to meet the demands of today's society.

"We're looking at world in which, for even entry level jobs, there are more requirements for literacy."

Often there is health and safety training, sometimes online, and on the job training that may include literacy requirements.

"Digital technology and health and safety requirements, that surge has happened over the last five or six years. The demand is great for that, and it squeezes people who don't have the necessary literacy skills to handle that."

In factories, work shift notes are required. Or inventory forms.

"The demands are high in any workplace. Gone are the days when you would work on the line and not have to do anything with basic (literacy) skills."

Reports also suggest 50 per cent of individuals with low literacy live in low income housing, compared to eight per cent with high literacy skills.

"This indicates a link between literacy and quality of life, literacy and poverty, literacy and income, literacy and health. There are a lot of indicators."

She has research that shows by 2031, 77 per cent of people will require post-secondary education credentials.

"I recently read an article titled, Menial no more, and it was about entry level jobs. Another article showed that even housekeeping jobs at hotel chains are different than they were 10 years ago. It could be paperwork, or it could be the complexity of the task, it's becoming more and more of a requirement."

Family Literacy Day in Tillsonburg

On Tuesday, January 27, celebrate Family Literacy Day at Annandale School, 6:15-7:30 p.m. Kids can participate in fun literacy activities, listen to great stories read by guest readers, and every child who attends receives a free book!

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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