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Life-changing adult literacy

Improving the level of adult literacy in our area is one of the main aspirations of the staff at the Iowa Valley Education & Training Center (ETC). With locations in Marshalltown, Tama, Grinnell, Iowa Falls, and Eldora, more than 400 students were served at the centers this past year. Students can attend citizenship, English as a second language, and high school equivalency classes. Each of these programs can change a student’s life profoundly.

Jazmine (name changed for privacy) came to Iowa from El Salvador with her mother. She first came to the ETC to improve her English skills. Due to her motivation and hard work, she rapidly advanced from our pre-literate level up through three additional levels of ESL classes. Once she felt confident in her English language skills, she took a pre-certified nurse aide class taught at the center.

Jazmine then attended the 75-hour nurse aide course at Iowa Valley Continuing Education. She enjoyed working as a certified nurse aide, but wanted a new challenge, so she then enrolled in and completed the practical nursing program through Marshalltown Community College. Jazmine is working at a nearby facility as an LPN and she is thrilled with her new career helping people.

Kolin Fernau obtained his high school equivalency diploma through the HSED program and graduated as top welder from the IVCE Career Welding program.

Fernau said, “Within a year and two months, I have a home, a very nice vehicle, and a better feeling about myself.”

He married last April to his girlfriend, with whom he has a daughter, opened a business called E&K Trades offering custom and repair welding, roof and deck installation, and other services and is also working for Jeld-Wen.

Lucero Padilla started in the pre-literacy English as a second language program, studied diligently, and became proficient enough in English to earn her nurse aide certification in 2009. She then obtained her medical assisting certificate four years ago. Padilla worked for more than six years in two nursing home facilities and has worked at the Iowa Veterans Home as CNA/CMA for the past three years. She loves her job.

The Iowa Valley staff shares the pride and satisfaction that these and our other students feel when they have accomplished something of practical and lasting value for themselves. Changing students’ lives for the better is what Iowa Valley is all about!