VALA program among the best


The Valley Adult Learning Association here recently was called one of the eight most innovative literacy programs in the province by Community Literacy of Ontario.
What’s more, VALA has been invited to make a presentation about its program at the Laubach Literacy Ontario conference in Orillia on June 13-14.
VALA has run the introduction to administration course for English language learners, in partnership with the Fort Frances Ontario Works, several times over the last few years.
The program is aimed at “hard-to-serve” women (i.e., women with barriers that impede their ability to find and keep jobs) in their 30s who are looking for work in the administrative field.
The introduction to administration course they offer can be a stepping stone to moving to accredited administration courses offered by the colleges.
Ontario Works counsellors from Couchiching FN recently approached VALA because they wanted to see if this course could be offered for their client group.
VALA agreed and has expanded this program to meet this new need.
It has been offered for the past 12 weeks now.
“We’re really happy to have a new partnership in town,” VALA program co-ordinator Barb Duguay said Monday, adding new partnerships is what the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities likes to see.
During a Community Literacy of Ontario workshop March 18-19, Joanne Kaattari, co-director of Community Literacy of Ontario, called VALA an “incredibly innovative literacy organization.”
She added VALA and Couchiching Ontario Works make “a great partnership” because the Couchiching Ontario Works office recruited the clients, marketed the program, did the pre-screening, and arranged for paid participant travel to the VALA office.
VALA, in turn, provided the site, the resources, and the instructor.
In terms of developing the task-based course curriculum, VALA used employment-based resources and models from other literacy programs, noted Kaattari.
VALA also made strong connections with post-secondary administrative courses offered by Confederation College and Seven Generations Education Institute, she added.
The training is based around the Ontario Adult Literacy curriculum framework.
Milestones and culminating tasks are used to help ensure that when the learners graduate, they’re ready to move on to the post-secondary courses, said Kaattari.
She noted the introduction to administration course has had a very good success rate in previous sessions, with several of the women having gone on to college courses.
Others went directly to work at jobs in the administrative field.
Hopefully, that also will be the case with this new partnership.
Duguay noted VALA offers a variety of courses for adults.
Anyone interested in learning more can contact VALA at 274-3553.