Local Assistance for LCBC Students Seeking Employment

NC Works Logo - Square

NC Works Logo

Many Adult Education and ESOL students are looking for a new job because they are either unemployed or under-employed. In an effort to learn about what resources exist to help these students, the Literacy Council invited an NCWorks Career Center representative to speak to staff and tutors on Jan. 25. We learned that connecting with the NCWorks Career Center may help your student find, apply for, and get the job they’re looking for.

Career Advising

Each time a job seeker comes to the career center, they can choose to meet one-on-one with a career adviser who will help them:

  • informally assess job seeking skills, work skills and work interests
  • create or update a resume
  • learn how to use the NCWorks Online website and create a NCWorks Online profile
  • learn about center services, such as workshops, the Career Lab, on-site tutorials and computer class, career counseling, and financial aid for training
  • as appropriate, obtain a referral for center services that require one
  • discuss skill gaps and skill development opportunities
  • find available jobs

Job seekers who want to receive this personalized assistance should come to the NCWorks office between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm Monday through Friday for same day service.

Computer Resource Area

The NCWorks Career Center also offers a Computer Resource Area for job seekers. This area has twelve computers and is available for job search activities such as preparing a resume and completing an online job application. Job seekers do not have to meet with a career adviser before using the Resource Area, but they do need to check in at the front desk. This service is available from 8:30 am-4:55 pm Monday through Friday.  Career advisers are available to provide general assistance in this area as needed.

Job Seeking Workshops

The NCWorks Career Center offers regularly scheduled workshops that focus on career planning and job seeking skills. Here are some workshop topic examples:

  • Identifying Career Interests
  • Mastering Online Applications
  • Write a Winning Resume
  • Networking – the Most Effective Way to Find a Job
  • Computer Basics for Job Seekers

Workshops are free to job seekers. Click here to see a list of upcoming workshops. Sign up by calling (828) 251-6200 or visiting the NCWorks office.

Financial Assistance for Job Training

The NCWorks Career Center has access to federal funds to assist job seekers in paying for short-term (and some long-term) training programs. Short-term training programs take an average of 10-15 weeks and include: CNA, Hospitality, and Advanced Manufacturing courses. Job seekers should meet with an NC Works career adviser to learn more about this opportunity and eligibility requirements.

NC Works Online

NCWorks Online is a website with available jobs, job seeking tips and labor market information. Job seekers can create a NCWorks Online profile so employers can find their resume. They can also look for jobs in their desired field and geographic area. NCWorks career advisers can help job seekers start this process, as well as upload or create an online resume that employers can find when looking for new employees.

Requirements for Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in NC Works programs, a job seeker must have a valid Social Security number, ie: be a U.S. citizen or a non-U.S. citizen with authorization to work in the U.S.

To be eligible for financial assistance in approved training, a job seeker will either 1) need to meet certain income eligibility requirements or 2) be classified as a “Dislocated Worker” (click here for description). Because the NCWorks Career Center wants to provide training assistance to job seekers whenever appropriate, job seekers are encouraged to come to the center to find out if they qualify.

Contact Information

NCWorks Career Center
(828) 251-6200
48 Grove Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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Resources to Help your Students Cope with Racial Intimidation and Bias

fight hate

adl blogThe Literacy Council staff attended a presentation on Jan. 27 by the Anti-Defamation League. The organization was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

The Anti-Defamation League, Buncombe County’s Sheriff Van Duncan, and Asheville’s Chief of Police Tammy Hooper provided information at the meeting about how to a) report an anti-Semitic, racist or bigoted incident and receive victim support and b) educate children at school and home to reject bias.

Please use these resources with your Literacy Council students, at home, and in the community.

Reporting an Incident & Seeking Victim Support

If one of your students or someone you know is the victim of a hate incident, these resources will help them report the incident and receive victim support.

First, in addition to hate crimes, “racial intimidation” (unprovoked hate speech aimed at intimidation, including racial slurs) is also prosecutable offense that should be reported to law enforcement. It is best reported by the victim, but can be reported by a witness.

  • In an emergency, always call 911
  • For non-emergencies in Asheville city limits, report to: 828-252-1110 (any language)
  • For non-emergencies in Buncombe County, report to: 828-250-6670 (English) or 828-250-4542 (Spanish)

Additionally, any form of hate incident should be reported to the Anti-Defamation League, who reports data on hate incidents nationally and regionally. They will provide optional support to victims who report hate incidents.

  • Click here or call 212-885-7700 to report an incident with ADL and receive victim support 
  • Click here if you would like to also report the incident to the Southern Poverty Law Center to aid in their work monitoring incidents in our region

Educating Children to Reject Bias

The Anti-Defamation League has online resources for educators, parents, and caregivers to teach children and youth to reject bias and embrace diversity.

K-12 Educators and Administrators

The anti-bias curriculum helps students develop an understanding of diverse perspectives, strengthen critical thinking skills, challenge the development of emerging biases, and build skills and motivation to take action against injustice. Resources include:

Parents and Caregivers

These resources help parents and caregivers “create a home life that recognizes the diversity of our world, addresses bullying, opposes bias, and in small and large ways, challenges those injustices.” Resources include:

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Scrabble Night

NLAW

The Literacy Council hosted a Scrabble Night on Thursday, February 2nd in honor of National Literacy Action Week, an initiative to strengthen literacy activism in local communities. During the week-long celebration, literacy programs across the nation join together to raise awareness about literacy and create change on college campuses and within the greater community. 

From Competitive Scrabble to Informal Bananagrams

Dr. Bill Snoddy and Jacob Cohen of the Asheville NLAWScrabble Club partnered with the Literacy Council to provide necessary gear including game boards, racks, tiles, clocks, and score sheets for tournament style play. Their Scrabble expertise helped create a competitive environment for players both new and experienced to test the limits of official game rules. Limited to only 25 minutes of play, challengers had to think about word choices quickly and were subject to an electronic word judge program called Zyzzyva to make decisions fairly.

For participants who were uninterested in Scrabble, there was a wide selection of other word games to choose from, including Upwords, Boggle, Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, and Sentence Cubes.

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While the Scrabble Night event was offered as a way to engage the community in fun literacy activities, there was also plenty of time for reflection on the impact of literacy in every day life. Volunteers and literacy advocates in the community shared why literacy was important to them by writing responses on a dry erase board.

Literacy is Important to Me Because…

DSC_0612The Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) collected responses like the one pictured as part of a social media campaign for National Literacy Action Week. Individuals could submit their pictures for a chance to win a free t-shirt and other prizes over the course of the week. SCALE also offered two free webinars: “Why Literacy Matters” and “Race Based Conversations with Kids Matter”.

Words (and Photos) with Friends

For more photos of Scrabble Night, scroll through our image gallery below or share your own on our Facebook page!

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scrabble 3        DSC_0611 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

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How Tutors Impact the Literacy Council’s Sustainability

Yellow sheet: attendance log for one-on-one tutors

Yellow sheet: attendance log for one-on-one tutors

You already know that you impact your students’ lives. You see it in their improved skills, increased self-confidence, and achievement of personal goals.

But you may not have known that you also impact the Literacy Council’s funding and sustainability every time you turn in your hours and assign a post-test or CASAS test.

Our Federal Funding is Outcomes-Based

Did you know that the Literacy Council receives over $100,000 annually (about a third of our overall budget) from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)? In North Carolina, this funding is administered by the NC Community College System. It funds our Adult Education and ESOL programs, which serve 275-300 students per year.

For the past four years, the amount of funding that we have received is related to two factors: a) an annual grant application, and b) student outcomes from the previous year.

Next year, our organization will receive base funds and bonuses when our students are successful in:

  • Attending class regularly
  • Improving post-test scores
  • Earning a High School Equivalency diploma (like a GED)
  • Enrolling in post-secondary education (like an AB Tech certificate course) after leaving the Literacy Council.

The legislation also requires that we work with students on preparing for the workforce and getting jobs, though our funding is not dependent on this.

Our Tutors and Students Produce Some of the Best Outcomes in the State

The NC Community College System provides WIOA funds to literacy councils and community colleges across the state, serving a total of 86,000 students. Here’s how we stacked up in 2015/16:

  • The state recommends that literacy council students receive an average of 40 instructional hours each year
    • LCBC students received an average of 53 instructional hours
  • 58% of students statewide received sufficient instructional hours and were post-tested
    • 81% of LCBC students received sufficient instructional hours and were post-tested
  • 33% of students across the state improved post-test scores by a full level
    • 43% of LCBC students improved post-test scores by a full level

In short, you are helping our students outperform state averages!

How Can You Continue to Help?

  • Submit your attendance logs on time. Funding for your program is directly correlated with the number of instructional hours that our students receive. You can click here to download a new attendance log from our website or pick one up in the office.
  • Encourage your student to stick with it! If a student “stops out” for three or more months, they will have to reenter the program with a new pre-test. We want our students to continue to show persistence throughout the year. Students are be better equipped to show improvement if they have at least 40 hours of instruction per year.
  • Use lesson plans that include Adult Education Content Standards. For ESOL tutors, Ventures lesson plans provide a perfect starting point for your lesion plans. For Adult Education tutors, please follow the Wilson lesson plan or use the supplementary materials you discussed with the program director. If you have questions about this, please contact your program director.
  • Prepare your students for CASAS testing. Your students are most likely to be successful if you get them accustomed to the testing process by administering unit tests when appropriate and talking about test taking skills. If you need support on how to do this, please attend the spring in-service training about CASAS testing.
  • Talk to your students about their goals. Check in with your students about their goals regularly to ensure they have the encouragement and information they need to be successful. Once you have a clear understanding of your students’ goals, we can provide you with resources and contacts that you can use to help them be successful.

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Literacy Council Corporate Partners share “An Hour with Author Wayne Caldwell”

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Author Wayne Caldwell keynoted an event for the Literacy Council's Corporate Partners Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Locally acclaimed author Wayne Caldwell keynoted an event for the Literacy Council’s Corporate Partners Monday, Jan. 23 aimed to both inspire new strategies for working together and provide a special experience for current partners. 

Wayne Caldwell’s Teachers Inspired His Craft

Caldwell spoke about the early influences that provided him the impetus to not only learn to read, but to read great works of literature. These influences included his adoptive mother and many teachers in the Enka community. A high school teacher even encouraged him to “write the Great American novel.” Caldwell knows that she would be proud, as his novel, Cataloochee, is a 2013 James Still Award winner and a Southern Independent Bestseller Award winner. Caldwell attributed his success to the encouragement he received throughout his childhood.

The Literacy Council Can Support Local Businesses

Robert Foster, of Biltmore Farms Hotels, presented about how his company has partnered with the Literacy Council for the past two years. During this time, the Literacy Council has provided English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at the DoubleTree Biltmore hotel for housekeeping employees. Robert shared stories of employees who had previously declined offers to move into higher positions because they were not confident enough in their English language skills. After spending time in ESOL classes, Robert now found the same employees approaching him more confidently and asking for new positions, in English! He found a way to encourage these employees to take the classes by lightening their workload the day they have class and providing lunch during class. Robert says he has seen such a benefit to his business that he plans to expand the program to other Biltmore Farms Hotels.

How Your Business Can Partner with the Literacy Council

A partnership between a corporation and the Literacy Council can be a critical step toward improving basic literacy and English language skills for employees or other contacts, which in turn improves employee retention, productivity, and promotability. Ultimately, adults with increased literacy and English language skills positively impact our local workforce, economy, and community.

To learn more about starting an on-site class or referring an employee in need of assistance, contact Ashley@litcouncil.com.

To learn more about how to support with the Literacy Council through your business, click here.

Special thanks to Malaprop’s Bookstore, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lenior Rhine University, Sierra Nevada, and Biltmore Wines for contributing to the event.

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