Augusta Adult and Community Education Partner with Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec

(Picture Left to Right: Kayla Sikora, Director of Augusta Adult and Community Education, Virginia Marriner, Executive Director  of Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec, and Kelli Gilzow Stowell, Community Enrichment Coordinator at Augusta Adult and Community Education)

Augusta Adult and Community Education is pleased to announce their partnership with Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec to provide literacy support in the classroom for learners who have been identified with low literacy levels. Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec will work with students individually and/or in small groups to help them with reading comprehension and assigned classroom work.

In addition to volunteering in the classroom, Literacy Volunteers will also be partnering with Augusta Adult and Community Education and the Buker Community Center to offer Community Scrabble Events. Participants can play individually or with a team and we will host a Scrabble Tournament on April 1st, 2023.

Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec and Augusta Adult and Community Education were both participants in the United Way of Kennebec Valley’s IMPACT2032, a process to develop a vision to improve the lives of the people of Kennebec County across the domains of health, education and financial stability. It is through this type of partnership and working together that we can improve the well-being of our community.

“Partnering with Literacy Volunteers offers an extra layer of support that many of our students need. Being able to provide our students with free tutoring is a step in the right direction to help our students achieve their education goals. Taking our partnership with Literacy Volunteers a step further and offering Community Scrabble Events is another way to help promote lifelong learning and community engagement. I believe in the power and importance of lifelong learning and community engagement. As the director of Augusta Adult and Community Education, I could not be more excited about this partnership.” -Kayla Sikora, Director of Augusta Adult and Community Education

“To be able to bring Scrabble back to our community is exciting. LV Scrabble Events have not taken place since March of 2020. Tutoring is exceptional for our students but Scrabble is fun!”- Kelli Gilzow Stowell, Community Enrichment Coordinator at Augusta Adult and Community Education

“Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec is very pleased to be able to continue a collaborative relationship with Augusta Adult and Community Education. The Memorandum of Understanding with Augusta Adult and Community Education supports a strong collaboration with the teaching staff and Director of Augusta Adult Education to provide literacy support.

Improving adult literacy can have a significant positive impact. Adults with less education are more likely to have incomes below the poverty threshold and in the general Kennebec Valley area of those age 25 and older, nearly one-third (29%) of those without a high school diploma are living in poverty. This collaboration can help to change those numbers for the better, helping people to have equal access to education.”- Virginia Marriner, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec

Maine DOE Adult Education Team Awards $3.2 Million in Strengthening Maine’s Workforce Education and Training Grants

The Maine Department of Education’s Adult Education Team has funded 8 Strengthening Maine Workforce projects as part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Program (MJRP).

The federal funding, awarded through a statewide competitive grant process for adult education providers, will enable programs statewide to:

  • Develop, implement, continue, and/or expand, workforce training programs in collaboration with employers
  • Partner with employers to address workforce shortages in employment sectors such as manufacturing, restaurants, lodging, healthcare and retail trade industries identified as suffering deep economic declines due to COVID-19
  • Develop and provide English language acquisition services
  • Improve availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses, including reducing waitlists for English language acquisition services

Hub 7 Adult Education – Bridge to Employment
Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties
Total award amount: $378,077 

Bridges to healthcare training, hospitality/retail Employment, and manufacturing training will focus on workforce training in collaboration with employers. Existing programs will be expanded, and new programs will be developed and implemented with significant input from area employers. Bridge or gap funding will be provided to eligible students who don’t already meet eligibility requirements through other sources. The bridge to employment for immigrants will focus on the goal of workforce training but will also be directed towards developing and providing English language acquisition services; and improving availability, relevance, and access to English language acquisition courses. A hub-wide training for ESOL/ML  conversation partner volunteers will be developed and provided as a means of sustainable capacity building. These services will further aid workforce training and English language acquisition students by providing financial support in areas of transportation, childcare, and training costs not covered under WIOA partner and Department of Health and Human Services financial resources. These will include gas cards, taxi vouchers, on-site childcare, childcare reimbursement, and training scholarships for students while attending adult transitions or college transitions classes, certification programs, or on-the-job training programs. In addition, earn-as-you-learn incentives will be offered to those eligible students who do not qualify for employer or grant-sponsored coverage of their time that would otherwise be spent working to support themselves and their families.

SAD 1 Adult & Community Education – Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program
Aroostook County
Total award amount: $398,408

The goal of the Aroostook Hospitality Workforce Training Program is to develop sustainable and reliable career pathways within the hospitality (lodging and restaurants) industry in Aroostook County that will provide entry level employees, both current and prospective, the opportunity to receive high quality and meaningful training in order to grow and enhance the skills necessary to excel at their job. The focus will be on building skills in customer service, industry specific technology and skills, as well as leadership training opportunities.  In addition, education regarding the wide variety of careers available in the hospitality industry as well as an individualized career ladder plan will help participants meet their professional goals.

RSU 25 Adult Education – Healthcare Pathways
Hancock and Washington Counties
Total award amount: $486,080

The project supports expansion and improvement of allied healthcare training across Adult Education Hub 1 in collaboration with regional healthcare partners. This project will allow the expansion of currently established healthcare pathways to address barriers and skills gaps identified in the pilot phase as well as create new healthcare pathways to address industry needs identified during and because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Expanded healthcare pathways will include hybrid course offerings that address healthcare skills gaps and include stronger and earlier employer connections and offer participants across the Hub an interrelated pathway to certifications, stackable credentials, and engagement with local employers.

New healthcare pathways will include Certified Clinical Medical Assistant curriculum that will include multiple entry points across the Hub.

All pathways supported with these funds will include resources both in and out of the classroom to assist students to address barriers to success in a timely manner.

South Portland – Adult Multilingual Program Expansion
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $260,450 

This program will The program will seek to build a culture of success by 1) providing scheduling and transportation that fits with the needs of parents who have children enrolled in school, 2) developing a childcare program for children too young for school, 3) translating materials and using language interpreters as needed to conduct outreach, recruitment and evaluation 4) increasing the relevance of English language acquisition courses by using a culturally aware model that builds towards readiness for workforce participation.   address the English language needs of immigrants and asylum-seekers who have little or no English language proficiency.

Westbrook Adult Education – Luke’s Lobster Workplace ESOL
Cumberland County
Total award amount: $199,319 

Adult Education will partner with Luke’s Lobster to build an employer-based and contextualized English Language Acquisition program for multilingual learners employed at the Luke’s Lobster production facility in Saco, Maine. Funding for the start-up of the program is being applied for.

Luke’s Lobster employees are in need of English Language Acquisition that fits with their constantly changing schedule and needs. The production schedule varies from day to day depending upon the amount of product coming in from the boats. This will require a flexible program with various training options from onsite training to virtual training, both including various online tools, i.e. EnGen, Zoom. With their ever-changing schedule, transportation and childcare become constant barriers for employees to attend area adult education program’s English Language Acquisition classes. In addition to the waitlists at various programs.

Portland Schools/Portland Adult Education: Extended Language Access Project
Total award amount: $489,850   

The Extended Language Access Project will enable Portland Adult Education, the largest adult education provider in Maine, to extend English language learning opportunities to a greater number of students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through innovatively addressing the waitlist, expanding English instruction, and addressing barriers to participation.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: English and Digital Skills Integration
Total award amount: $490,650

The English and Digital Skills Integration programming will increase relevance and accessibility of English language acquisition and workplace preparedness through 1) improving remote instruction, 2) adequate access to loaner devices and hot spots and 3) integrating a multi-pronged approach to digital skills building at all levels of the organization that includes a digital skills lab, targeted workshops and digital skills integration into traditional ESOL classes.

Portland Public Schools/Portland Adult Education: Healthcare Pathways
Total award amount: $500,000

Portland Adult Education’s Healthcare Pathways Program will create English language acquisition and workforce training opportunities in the healthcare industry for individuals disproportionately affected by COVID-19 including people of color, individuals with low-incomes, low English literacy levels, and women who may also be unemployed or underemployed, or currently out of the labor force.  Portland Adult Education will work closely with healthcare employers to design and implement programming and connect students to employment opportunities. Portland Adult Education will take a customized approach to meeting students’ education and training needs by offering a range of healthcare focused training opportunities and supports, and ensuring appropriate placement based on English level, professional backgrounds, and career aspirations.

Governor Mills Proclaims September 18-24 Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

While adult education provides so much more than just the high school equivalency, it is certainly a milestone for adult learners who have have grit and determination. They are fighting for a better future for themselves and their families!  The Maine Department of Education joins Governor Mills to celebrate their hard work as well as the work of adult education professionals who show up everyday to empower their learners.

Governor Janet T. Mills has proclaimed September 18 – 24 as Adult Education and Family Literacy Week in the State of Maine – view the proclamation here.

Maine Adult Education programs offer classes and tutoring sessions to help adults acquire and improve their skills in reading, writing, mathematics, English language proficiency, and problem solving to become self-sufficient and to participate effectively as workers, family members and citizens.

For more information on the local adult education program near you, please contact Amy Poland, amy.poland@maine.gov or view our Maine Adult Education Directory or visit The Maine Adult Education Association’s Website.

NMRC/PAE Education Academy Program Accepting Applications

A new Education Academy offered at Portland Adult Education is now accepting applications. The Education Academy prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be teachers or educational technicians here in Maine.

The Portland Public Schools launched the Education Academy as part of the Teach Portland initiative in January 2022 to build and diversify its educator workforce. This new intensive program, targeted specifically at foreign-trained teachers, will be offered by the New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) at Portland Adult Education starting Jan. 7. It is designed to build on the skills and experience that these teachers bring with them from their home countries.

The Education Academy will combine coursework with intensive English and a student classroom experience.  It will prepare students in the program to work as educational technicians and substitute teachers. It will also provide the guidance and support they need to ultimately apply for and pursue teacher certification.  Students may be eligible for scholarships and other supportive services that will help them with the costs of any college courses they may need for teacher certification.

Education Academy which is now accepting applications for classes that start this September.

  • This program prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be Teachers or Educational Technicians here in Maine
  • It is also a good program for people with other backgrounds and degrees who are interested in entering the teaching profession
  • It provides an overview of education in the US including: classroom management, teaching methods, becoming a Maine educator, and teaching exceptional students
  • The program includes a practicum, or practical experience in a classroom, and also advice and assistance applying for teacher certification and jobs

Here is a link to more information about the program and its requirements:  Education Academy Slideshow.

Here is a link to the Education Academy Application.

For more information about the Education Academy, go to the New Mainers Resource Center website at: www.nmrcmaine.org or call Portland Adult Education at: 207-874-8155

Maine DOE Hosts First ‘Teachers of Adult Multilingual Summer Institute’ Drawing in Rural Districts Eager to Support New Learners

As the housing crisis felt across Maine has driven some of Maine’s newest multilingual residents out of urban areas and into rural parts of our State, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Maine’s adult education multilingual learning programs are right there to provide the support they need. 

The first-ever, “Teachers of Adult Multilingual Summer Institute” was held in Sugarloaf and virtually recently. Hosted by Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team and endearingly referred to as, “Camp Sugarloaf,” the gathering featured nationally renowned educator and speaker Jayme Adelson-Goldstein who led a workshop, which took place over the course of the three-day institute, on implementing high-leverage practices and differentiation in virtual and  in-person multilingual classrooms with interactive activities that enabled participants to get to know each other and dig into valuable content and best practices for educating adult learners who are multilingual. 

In addition to Adelson-Goldstein’s full group sessions, the institute also offered various breakout sessions led by educators working in some of Maine’s more urban adult education programs.  

While Rochelle Yanike Hale from Portland Adult Education led a session on “How to Increase Student Writing in a Remote Class,” Virginie Akimana from Portland Adult Education hosted a session on, “Considerations for Working with Adult Multilingual Learners,” and Tekia Cox from Augusta Adult & Community Education hosted participants for a Roundtable Discussion on Orientation for Multilingual Learners. Also offering sessions were Kelli Park from University of Southern Maine (USM)/Merrymeeting Adult Education, Elizabeth Cuccinello DiLalla from RSU 13 Adult & Community Education, Moira Taylor from Portland Adult Education, Lisa Parisio from Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Amy Hatch from Lewiston Adult Education, and Anya Enright from EnGen. 

Members of Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team also hosted various other sessions on everything from CASAS (assessments) to community resources, and the Teaching the Skills That Matter (TSTM) Toolkit. In addition, the institute also provided participants with ample opportunities for networking, relaxing, and communicating and collaborating with each other across the three-day event.    

Meet the Adult Education Team: 

Back row: Kelley Heath- Adult Ed Data/High School Education Coordinator, Amy Hatch-Adult Ed MaineStars Data Entry, Christy Le-Adult Ed Micro-credential Assistant, Tammy Ranger- Director, Workforce Development & Innovative Pathways 

Front row: Megan Dichter- Adult Ed Workforce Development/ESL Coordinator, Amy Poland- Adult Ed Prof Dev/ME College Transition Coordinator, Monique Roy-Director Adult Education 

While this is the first official Summer Institute hosted for Maine’s adult educators, the Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team hopes to plan a summer institute annually each year going forward.