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Each year, along with the community and technical colleges across the state Yakima Valley Community College has celebrated Adult Literacy.

YVCC supports adult literacy in our community through comprehensive programs and specialized job skills training. These programs, including Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a SecondLanguage (ESL), and Integrated Basic Education & Skills Training (I-BEST) are designed to help adults achieve their educational and literacy goals. YVCC also offers training to help students successfully transition from these basic skills programs to college-level coursework, providing valuable skills needed for today's workforce.

In recognition of Adult Literacy Week, YVCC is honoring individuals in our community as Literacy Champions. This honor has named businesses, non-profits, and individuals throughout the Yakima Valley for their support of adult literacy. Literacy Champions are an important part of our local community and are instrumental in maintaining the health of our economy and our local workforce.

Photograph features the 2012 Literacy Champion.Shown left to right;Lois Menard, Yakima School District Assistant Principle of GED/CAP,Dr. Linda Kaminski,YVCC President, Dr. Elaine Beroza, Yakima SchoolDistrict Superintendent,Katy Ruark,YVCC CAP Instructor, and TomasYbarra, YVCC Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

Adult Literacy

2012 Literacy Champion - Yakima School District

This year YVCC will honor the Yakima School District for its commitment to the College Alternative Program (CAP) program. The CAP is a partnership between YVCC and local school districts to offer dropout youth (ages 16-21) the opportunity to earn GED certificates outside of the regular school system. Many youth, especially those 18 and older, are unwilling to return to their local districts, even to the alternative schools. Although YVCC's adult education centers have always served this population, CAP links the college and districts more closely, providing important benefits to the students, the districts, and the college. One student who found great success with the CAP is YVCC alumni Matthew Robinson.

Growing up in Spokane, Matthew Robinson dropped out of high school at a young age and began working in the construction industry. Moving to the Yakima Valley with his family when he was 17, Matthew became interested in completing his GED.

"When I moved to Yakima, I didn't know a soul, so finding a job meant filling out applications. Dropping out of high school had never really bothered me before, but when I realized that I had to leave the 'education' box on my application blank, I was overwhelmed with embarrassment. When I heard that YVCC had a GED program, I decided to enroll for the express purpose of being able to fill in that box," - stated Robinson.

He enrolled in the YVCC's CAPP in 1999.

"Everyone involved with the program had an impact on me. I often say that the staff in YVCC's ABE program are doing God's work. They give more than academic instruction; they give confidence, hope, encouragement, and dignity to their students. I never once felt ashamed while I was there, because every teacher, counselor, and support person encouraged me. Before walking in those doors, I was embarrassed about dropping out, but they helped me focus on the future and what I could accomplish if I stuck with it," - continued Robinson.

Matthew Robinson

After earning his GED, Robinson returned to the construction industry for several years. He again looked to community college and YVCC for affordable opportunities when his passion for construction fizzled.

"I chose to attend YVCC for many reasons, not at the least of which was financial. Like most students, my wife and I live on a limited budget so community college seemed to be the most responsible choice given our financial situation," - stated Robinson.

While at YVCC he became involved with Student Life and served as President of Associated Students of Yakima Valley Community College (ASYVCC). Robinson continuously exhibited his leadership abilities, participating in many campus projects and committees.

After completing his associate's degree, Robinson transferred to Central Washington University where he earned his bachelor's degree in public relations with a minor in philosophy. While at CWU he took an online social media course from Scott Battishill, owner of Curator, a public relations agency in Seattle, WA. At the end of the course Matthew was hired for an internship at Curato, then was hired full-time as Account Executive in April 2011.

Matthew Robinson accepts his associate'sdegreefrom the YVCC BoardofTrustees duringYVCC's Commencement Ceremony in June of 2008.

2011 Literacy Champion
- The Law Offices of Talbott, Sompson, and Davis, P.S.
YVCC honored The Law Offices of Talbott, Simpson, and Davis, P.S. in Yakima for their support of I-BEST student Maria Lopez-Rodriguez. I-BEST programs, offered through community and technical colleges around the state, allow adult literacy and vocational instructors to work together to develop and deliver instruction to students. YVCC offers several certificate options to I-BEST students including: Business Technology Office Skills I and II, Child Development, and Nursing Assistant. Students enrolled in I-BEST courses have a clear pathway from entry-level jobs to high-skilled, in demand careers.

2010 Literacy Champion - Ana Bazadoni

Ana Bazadoni found success in YVCC's ESL and basic skills courses before transferring to college level coursework and earning a bachelor degree from Central Washington University (CWU). Her story showcases the importance of Adult Literacy work in our community and her dedication and drive to succeed demonstrate the importance of providing everyone an opportunity to learn.

2009 Literacy Champion - The City of Grandview

YVCC, through the collaboration with the city of Grandview, designed a new city/college library to be built on the YVCC Grandview Campus. The library which opened in September 2011 has become an important part of the YVCC Grandview Campus. It provides accessible services and informational resources to VCC students and residents of the Lower Yakima Valley.

2008 Literacy Champion - EPIC of Yakima County

EPIC of Yakima County partners with YVCC's I-BEST programs to provide opportunities for YVCC graduates. Student Crystal Ullas was recognized as a YVCC graduate from the Child Development Associate (CDA) program who was hired at EPIC as a Classroom Assistant.

2007 Literacy Champion - Emerald Care of Wapato

Emerald Care of Wapato has provided hundreds of hours of clinical instruction through YVCC's student internship programs. They have also hired many YVCC graduates from the Nursing Assistant Certificate (NAC) Program. YVCC honored Emerald Care for their commitment to changing the workforce in Yakima County.

For additional information on Adult Literacy in Washington State, reference the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges website.