COD Receives $2.036 Million for Adult Education, Family Literacy

Literacy icon

By Brian Kleemann

The Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Secretary of State’s Office have awarded College of DuPage $2,036,462 in grants to support FY14 adult education and family literacy programming.

In addition, the College will receive a $23,230 grant as part of the New Americans Initiative, which is a nonprofit partnership between the State of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

The Adult Education/ESL program at College of DuPage is the largest literacy provider in District 502 and is the largest provider in the Chicago area outside of the collective City Colleges of Chicago. According to data collected by Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, 205,440 adult residents in District 502 – or approximately 20 percent live in households in which English is not the primary language.

The ICCB grant specifically covers seven distinct instructional areas, including Adult ESL, Adult Basic Education/Reading, English, Math, GED Preparation in English and Spanish, and Citizenship. The award represents a nearly 3 percent increase over FY13 funding levels and a 10 percent increase in performance funds.

“Literacy services in District 502 are in great demand and remain among the highest in Illinois,” said Joe Cassidy, Dean of Continuing Education/Extended Learning. “The increase in funding will allow us to continue providing these much-needed services while offering new programs, thanks to the Accelerating Opportunity and the New American Initiatives grants.”

College of DuPage is one of only 18 community colleges to receive a $20,000 Accelerating Opportunity grant from ICCB. The grant was developed to revise how Adult Basic Education is delivered, moving to a model where students are transitioned into post-secondary credential programs. For example, COD Adult Education is partnering with the Business and Technology Division to offer a pathway for GED students to acquire the skills necessary to obtain their GED credential while concurrently earning credit to complete a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certificate.

For the New Americans Initiative, COD is partnering with World Relief DuPage, Exodus World Services and West Chicago Community School District 94 to offer free ESL for Citizenship classes, as well as performing community outreach and partnership referrals.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office will provide $41,000 for the Adult Volunteer Literacy Program, $29,750 for the Family Literacy Program in West Chicago, and $25,000 for the new Family Literacy Program in Bensenville. The latter program, a partnership between College of DuPage, Bensenville School District 2 and the Bensenville Community Public Library, will offer family literacy services to parents and children in Bensenville School District 2.

For more information, call Cassidy at (630) 942-2316, e-mail cassidyj1180@cod.edu.