BRISTOL - ‚ÄúThere are a lot of exciting things happening now,‚ÄĚ said Larry Covino, Bristol Adult Education director, thanks to a series of new grants the program has received.
Three of the grants are from the state Department of Education‚Äôs Program Enhancement Project program, totaling $133,000.
Covino said the one he‚Äôs proudest of is called ‚ÄúPathway to a Brighter Future: Ready, Set, Read.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe have not had a family literacy program here in Bristol for a very long time,‚ÄĚ he noted.
‚ÄúThrough the collaborative efforts of Bristol‚Äôs Family Resource Center, Early Childhood Center, Parent and Child Center, and Bristol Adult Education Center, low literate adults and their children will improve literacy levels and parenting skills in order to become reading role models for their children and develop and incorporate improved parenting skills,‚ÄĚ the grant description reads.
‚ÄúSo we help improve the literacy level of the children ages three to eight, while also working with their parents to improve their literacy skills and help model for them how to interact with their children by reading to them,‚ÄĚ Covino said.
‚ÄúWe want to roll out our first group with this right after the holidays,‚ÄĚ he said.
The second PEP grant is called ‚ÄúPathways to a Brighter Future: Preparing Tomorrow‚Äôs Workers for a Brighter Future,‚ÄĚ which is part of Adult Ed‚Äôs Workforce Readiness program.
The overall objective is for each student to enroll in a college level advanced manufacturing program or to gain entry level employment in manufacturing as well as to obtain a high school degree or improve their English Language skills, Covino explained.
‚ÄúIt will cover the skills necessary for someone entering the world of manufacturing, such as fractions or reading the measurements on a blueprint,‚ÄĚ he said.
The third PEP grant is called ‚ÄúEnglish as a Pathway to a Brighter Future,‚ÄĚ which combines English language and citizenship instruction with career pathways for manufacturing/construction or health services.
For example, a young woman who is learning English skills through Adult Ed has expressed interest in going through a certified nursing assistant program, Covino said. ‚ÄúThis grant would pay for the CNA program. It‚Äôs the most comprehensive program for an English language learner because it takes them the whole pathway through to citizenship, and then a recognized workforce certificate where they can go on to full employment.‚ÄĚ
He said Adult Ed offers English classes now at its office on Redstone Hill Road, as well as at South Side School two nights a week and at the Human Resources Agency two afternoons a week.
‚ÄúThis will help us expand to at least one other location, and maybe two other locations in the community,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe are still negotiating dates and times etc.‚ÄĚ
Adult Ed also recently received three unrelated grants.
One from the Hartford Stage InterAct program pays for 15 Bristol Preparatory Academy students, and two teachers, to attend up to three theater productions and participate in learning seminars both in Hartford and in Bristol for free. All transportation and lunch is included.
‚ÄúThe kids already went to one play, ‚ÄėA Midsummer Night‚Äôs Dream.‚Äô Someone from Hartford Stage came here for a couple of days before they went, and worked with the students. They give the background of the story so the kids can follow it all and then they went and they had a very good time. Now they get to do that two more times this year,‚ÄĚ Covino said.
A grant program called Sky Bight, administered through the Main Street Community Foundation, provided $5,000 to support Adult Ed‚Äôs manufacturing training program for adult learners.
Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation provided the final grant, to support a new information technology program for Bristol Preparatory students.
The technology program is offering two courses this year: ‚ÄúIntroduction to Software Development‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúA+ Certification,‚ÄĚ an introductory certification program that is required for any IT position. These funds will support low income students in pursuit of a career in IT, Covino explained.
He said this grant will fund up to 10 students at $443 apiece to the courses and then the A+ certification, a national online assessment for the basic level of certification in information technology.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.