Project EASE: Education Assistance to Support Employability
Nevada still has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in high unemployment rates. Fortunately for the residents, the state also has some creative and resourceful libraries and library staff who are finding ways to move toward recovery.
Project EASE was developed at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to help the significant number of unemployed workers get a foundation of basic skills that would increase their employment potential. When Literacy Manager Connie Barker and others saw an "unfulfilled need" to boost the literacy levels of native English speakers, especially young African American men, she "threw everything we had at it." The major goal was to improve basic skills in reading, writing and computer use, while avoiding the stigma of labeling people illiterate.
The attached slide presentation was delivered by Mario Aguilar, Asst Branch Manager at the West Las Vegas Library, as part of a Project Compass session at the 2011 Nevada Library Association Conference. By the time of the graduation ceremony for the first cohort, Project EASE was able to report very successful statistical outcomes. More significantly, Mario shared the deep rewards of seeing the pride and sense of accomplishment in the faces of the program participants.
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