New initiative to improve literacy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New initiative to improve literacy

July 20, 2005

Thomasville-- There's a new program in Thomas County aimed at reducing the number of people who don't have a high school diploma or GED.

From leaders in Government, to the leaders of our future, Thomas County is coming together to quash a growing epidemic: illiteracy. College Student Lauren Wells is proof that the Department of Education's new adult literacy initiative works. "I went to the adult literacy program to get my GED so I could go on to further my education at a university," says Wells.

Just over 35% of the people in Thomas don't have high school diplomas or GED's. Coordinators say the program's goal is to cut that figure in half over 10 years through tutoring. "Less than 15% of our jobs today do not require high school diplomas or a GED," says Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center spokeswoman, Rozanne Eubanks.

That standard is getting Thomas County kudos for trying to meet it head on. It's also a precedent for other counties in our region, with similar illiteracy rates, to follow suit. "We hope that all across our 14 counties as people travel and they see this [sign] they will recognize the commitment communities have made in improving literacy," says Eubanks.

Only a grass roots effort will bring about that improvement. "The community owns the problem. They also own the solution," says Eubanks. They also own the satisfaction of accomplishment. "They don't feel rushed. They don't feel bogged down with too much information. They can work at their own pace," says Wells.

Anyone 16 years of age or older can participate in the program. For more information you can call the Department of Technical and Adult Education at 404-679-1600.

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