VALA moving to new location

Peggy Revell

The Valley Adult Learning Association will have a new home as of June 1.
The local Employment Ontario program will be moving from its current location—above the Rainy River Future Development Corp. office on Scott Street—to 241 Second St. E. alongside the Curtis Denture Clinic and dentists Dr. Chown and Dr. Botsford.
“We’re so excited,” said VALA administrator Barb Duguay. “We’re just really excited about moving to our new location.”
Duguay noted the move means the organization will be more handicap-accessible since it will be all on one floor, compared to their previous location which was up a flight of steps.
As well, the move marks how VALA has grown, with an increasing number of people accessing their services.
“We’ve hired two full-time staff and four part-time staff,” noted Duguay. “We’re expanding, we’re growing.
“We’ve over-exceeded our contact hours with the ministry for the last three years, and we’ve over-exceeded our learner numbers, so we’ve had increased funding,” she explained.
The new location will open June 1, with a grand opening planned for the fall.
With the space currently under construction, the new location will have new features such as a boardroom, technology like a projector and screen built into the ceiling and wall, and a brand new e-channel learning lab.
“We’re having a state-of-the-art computer lab,” noted VALA instructor Kim Redford.
“The lab will be all wireless and tower-less.
“Anybody interested in taking any online programming should come to our office and register,” Redford added. “The government’s got a whole new big initiative, [a] big push on online learning and access and distance learning.
“They call it e-channel learning and they provide a wide range of courses available, anything from whole numbers and spelling to Facebook and surfing the Internet and Internet safety.
“So come on in,” urged Redford. “We’ve got a whole course calendar and we can show you exactly what’s going on when.
“We have an online, e-channel learning instructor, who will help you log in, help you register, help you try it out the first time,” she added.
“We’ll show you the program, but if you want to do this at home, that’s the beauty of e-channel learning.
“We can get you registered and then you can learn in your own home,” Redford lauded.
VALA is one of the four local Employment Ontario programs, noted Duguay, with the others being the United Native Friendship Centre, Skills and Employment Source, and the new NCDS Transition Centre.
“Each of the four EO agencies offer a unique training style,” she remarked.
“So we offer [a] classroom setting, we offer one-on-one tutoring, individualized training, small group, and online learning,” echoed Redford.
“As always, we continue to run ACE, which is our Academic Career Entrance and that has ongoing enrolment,” she noted.
“It is a Grade 12 equivalency course.”
VALA also runs workforce skills training classes, such as Simply Accounting, which has been extremely popular.
As well, it offers special interest courses, such as “digital media” or “computers in a modern world.”
One example of how VALA can assist both businesses and people is seen in how they’ll be working right on site with Super 8 next year to do skills upgrading in the workplace.
“What’s unique about our program is if you’re working already, and you just don’t have the skills to maybe work Excel on your computer, you can come in and you can say, ‘I want four lessons on Excel’ and that’s all you get,” explained Duguay.
She also stressed the programs VALA runs are available for people from “all walks of life” and skill levels.