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Educators, organizations, businesses rally around adult learners

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GRCC Learning Corners compel adult learners to take ownership of their learning and employment success.

Location Changes and Upcoming Orientations

The West Side Learning Corner has moved! Classes are now held at the Learning Corner at Wealthy, 1154 Wealthy Street SE and the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC at 622 Godfrey Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.


The next GED Orientation at the Wealthy Learning Corner is August 19th. Please call (616) 234-3040.


The next ESL Orientation at the Leslie Tassel Learning Corner is August 26th. Please call (616) 234-3040 or email [email protected].

Dave Selmon, Director of Adult Education at Grand Rapids Community College

Dave Selmon, Director of Adult Education at Grand Rapids Community College

An ESL class at the Wealthy Learning Corner

An ESL class at the Wealthy Learning Corner /CLI

Last year, Grand Rapids Community College served 200 adult learners at its Learning Corners. Of those students, 190 made some sort of gain by the end of their program.

“We do well,” says Director of Adult Education Dave Selmon of the learners' progress.

Selmon oversees the General Education Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Citizenship components of the Learning Corners. ESL classes are offered year round while GED classes are taught in two 16-week semesters.

“We attract people from all over Kent County,” Selmon says of the student population.

Currently, most ESL students are Spanish speakers seeking to improve their English language skills. Many ABE and GED students are fresh out of high school and had expected to move directly into college but needed the extra academic support that the Learning Corners provide. Others have been in the workforce for years but need to improve their education in order to advance in their employment.

Selmon recalls a female learner in her early 50s who had to earn a GED to keep her job. She attended classes at a GRCC Learning Corner and did well in all of the subjects except for math. She continued to retake the class until finally, on her last chance to pass the test, she did—with flying colors. She was thrilled. When the learner returned to work, her boss told her that he wouldn't have fired her, but had wanted to motivate her to receive her GED and help her see how important education is.

Sometimes it takes an unexpected push to improve literacy skills; it always takes a community. Grand Rapids Community College partners with the Dominican Sisters WORD Project, the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Lake Michigan Credit Union and Huntington Bank.

Selmon is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Community Literacy Initiative, a coalition that seeks to improve literacy for all ages in West Michigan. For him, this role has a direct connection to his daily work.

“We have a common goal. We reach out to people at the lowest level and help make them employable by their education. We’re offering access to people who wouldn’t normally have it.” 

Selmon stresses the importance of making people comfortable in a learning setting, and helping them see how important education truly is.

“People get complacent,” he says. “We need to allow education to interrupt our lives.”

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