Oakland Literacy Council
Making Reading Accessible For Everyone
October 2, 2018
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September 20, 2018
September 20, 2018 – Bloomfield Hills, Mich. – Oakland Literacy Council and Oakland County Michigan Works! teamed up this summer to pilot a free, 12-hour class for immigrants seeking employment in the state. The seven residents who completed the program learned about finding, applying, and interviewing for jobs as well as about available job-training resources.
As a result of the program, one participant launched his own repair business. Two others discovered and enrolled in job training courses. Still another clarified her career goals.
“The employment culture in the United States is quite different from many countries around the world,” said Lisa Machesky, Executive Director of Oakland Literacy Council. “The goal of this pilot class was to help adults new to this country negotiate the American world of work so they can support themselves and their families.”
“The course was about teaching people to fish, meaning giving immigrant job seekers the tools they need for job search, and teaching them how to find work in Michigan, while practicing their English conversation skills,” said Lynda Keough, Program Coordinator at Oakland County Michigan Works! in Troy. Michigan Works! provides one-stop service centers throughout the state to connect job seekers with education, training, and employment opportunities.
Oakland Literacy Council tutors Katie Thompson and Irene Sinclair designed the six-week course held during July and August, drawing upon their many years of professional experience teaching English language learners. Michigan Works! provided classroom space at its Troy office along with access to its extensive resources for workforce development.
Throughout the course, the immigrants practiced conversation skills. They learned vocabulary important to the job search, engaged in typical “water cooler” small talk, and took part in mock interviews peppered with open-ended questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”
In addition to brushing up on communication skills, the immigrants completed a typical job application, searched for jobs using Pure Michigan Talent Connect, a state government-run website for job seekers, and explored work-related courses available in the local area.
Oakland Literacy Council intends to repeat the course for English language learners with high intermediate listening levels, Machesky said.
September 12, 2018
September 12, 2018, Pontiac, Mich. – On Thursday, August 30, Commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub introduced a budget amendment to appropriate $10K to be utilized in partnership with the Oakland Literacy Council for an Oakland County Adult Literacy Program. The amendment passed in the Finance Committee and will be included in the recommended 2019 County Budget, which will come before the Board of Commissioners for adoption at their next full board meeting on September 27, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.
“As a former teacher, literacy is an issue that is near and dear to my heart,” said Commissioner Taub. “It is also an issue that many people do not realize impacts so many lives. In Oakland County alone, more than 100,000 adults are estimated to function at the lowest literacy level. The ability to read is critical to a person’s dignity and their ability to support themselves and their families. This funding will go towards helping Oakland County residents in need achieve literacy and improve their lives.”
The Oakland Literacy Council will use the Oakland County funding to support tutoring services for low-literate Oakland County residents, provide writing workshops for pre-GED students, offer student job workshops and much more.
“The ability to communicate well, both in speaking and in writing, and to read and comprehend content, is crucial for adults who desire to move up from the most menial jobs,” said Oakland Literacy Council Executive Director Lisa Machesky. “Through the council’s one-on-one tutoring program and our targeted small-group workshops, we are able to equip adults in Oakland County with the literacy skills they need to prosper in our economy. Commissioner Taub has consistently championed literacy and education and we’re grateful to have the support of the Board of Commissioners as we help our students realize their literacy goals.”
Since 1984, the Oakland Literacy Council has focused on providing free tutoring services for adults in either basic literacy or English as a Second Language (ESL). It is a nonprofit organization and serves hundreds of students throughout Oakland County each year. To learn more about the Oakland Literacy Council and its many programs and services, please visit www.oaklandliteracy.com.
Commissioner Taub is a Republican and represents District 12, which includes the cities of Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, as well as portions of Bloomfield Township. She can be contacted by phone at 248-420-8870 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Board of Commissioners is available at www.oakgov.com/boc or by calling 248-858-0100.
September 11, 2018
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July 19, 2018
July 19, 2018 - Thirty-eight residents of Oakland County graduated from Oakland Literacy Council’s free tutoring program this month and are already enjoying opportunities because of their stronger reading, writing, and conversation skills.
Margie and Yeon
One graduate, Yeon, a soft-spoken mother of two from South Korea, passed the six-hour national licensure exam for registered nurses on the first try. She credits her volunteer tutor, Margie, for building her vocabulary and comprehension skills during their weekly one-on-one sessions. “My tutor gave me the confidence to pass the test,” Yeon said.
Like Yeon, another graduate, Norma, a native of Mexico, has begun using her improved English skills to give back to the community. She enthusiastically volunteers in an x-ray lab at Beaumont Hospital-Troy, serving the public and hospital staff. “I want to be a part of society and help others if I can,” Norma says, adding that her tutor, John, “was the right person for me at the right time. All the stars were aligned.”
To graduate from the program, students must pass an assessment demonstrating mastery of real-life competencies, such as understanding job postings, legal notices, safety manuals, and medical instructions.
“It is so much fun to celebrate the gains students have made with their tutors,” said Lisa Machesky, the council’s executive director, after a graduation ceremony for the students, their tutors, and the council’s board of directors. “These relationships change lives: our students are able to navigate the world much better with stronger English language skills, they are able to talk and email their children’s teacher, they are able to communicate with their doctor, and they are able to take on more responsibility in the workplace because of these new skills.”