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GCC to partner with districts on adult education effort

Local education officials are starting to collaborate to improve adult education in Burbank and Glendale and hope to tap into a multimillion-dollar state grant available to school districts and colleges that agree to work together toward that goal.

They’re hoping to get a portion of $25 million from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office that’s available to K-12 school districts and community colleges that partner to form regional consortia that address needs tied to adult education.

“What they want to see is a collaboration and networks set up, so they can identify regions with gaps,” said Alfred Ramirez, administrative dean of instructional services, continuing and community education for Glendale Community College.

The funds will be handed out in March to 72 regions in the state, Ramirez added.

Although local educators are still unsure how much money they could receive, the millions of dollars handed down from the state will provide colleges and school districts with two years of funding to establish a plan for educating adults with courses to teach basic skills, English as a second language, citizenship for immigrants and career technical education as well as programs for adults with disabilities.

The joint plan drawn up by local education officials must also address any gaps in adult education and find an approach to accelerate students’ progress toward an academic or career goal.

Burbank school officials say it makes more sense to partner with Glendale Community College than Los Angeles Valley College — even though Burbank Unified is part of the Los Angeles Valley College district — because of the relationships Burbank school officials have already established in Glendale.

The Burbank school board passed a resolution in support of the joint collaboration late last month.

“The three really have commonality in terms of the students that we serve and we have long-standing relationships,” said Emilio Urioste, director of secondary education for Burbank Unified. “It’s not a foreign relationship at all.”

Ramirez said the state college system serves 1 million adult students across California, and that there’s a great need to provide adult programs with the funding that has been cut in recent years. That entails serving adults who may be new to the United States, currently out of a job or learning English.

Once the Glendale and Burbank school officials receive funds to implement their adult education plan, they are hopeful more money will be allocated to local adult programs in years to come.

“It’s very significant,” Ramirez said. “We’re meeting the need to help the economy.”

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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