Adults gaining education, job skills for free in Pima County

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than 22 million working-age Americans don’t have a high school diploma, according to the United States Census Bureau. For many, this has increased the challenge in finding a job during the pandemic.

The Pima County Superior Court Adult Probation LEARN program is joining the national “Move Ahead With Adult Ed” campaign to help adults gain skills to join the workforce.

The program helps people work towards getting their GED and gain job skills training for free. Classes are offered both online and in-person.

“For me, it’s one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I’ve had in my long career of education,” said David Reynolds, a LEARN Lab Site Coordinator.

He said the experience is often life changing and many students view the opportunity as a second chance. Lisa Nuñez is involved in the program and currently working to get her GED.

“I have teenagers and they challenge me a lot,” Nuñez said. “Because they’re doing the best they can in school, why can’t I?”

Nuñez’s two children are her motivation. She’s currently taking a civics class and said the courses is helping both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Before I started learning about civics, I didn’t really know anything about it,” she said. “I really didn’t remember school when I was younger. Now it’s all coming back. I just love it. Now I can say I know what I’m voting for.”

Knowledge she and others are using this election season to cast their ballot.

“We take for granted just understanding the language or politics,” Reynolds said. “We throw around terms like liberal and conservative and democrat and republican. If you don’t understand that language, then you can’t be part of the conversation.”

The program is opening doors for students like Nuñez and allowing them to do more than they’d thought was possible.

“It changed my life, now I look to the future with more goals,” she said.

The LEARN program is open to all U.S. residents, not just those going through court probation.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.