GEDCO welcomes KC literacy program to community center

The Gladewater Center for Community Education will soon be back in operation again, helping locals craft new opportunities for themselves.
Gladewater Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors last week warmly approved use of the building by Kilgore College’s Adult Education & Literacy Program.
“It is an excellent program,” said Jim Bardwell, vice president of the GEDCO board and publisher of the Gladewater Mirror. “It has won national awards. They really generate a lot of interest.
“They get people back in the workforce who think they didn’t have the skills.”
A planned hand-off of the GCCE building last year to Gladewater ISD had to be set aside in order to respect state regulations. GEDCO’s leaders have since been determined to find a best use for the facility at 2109 W. Gay Ave.
According to GEDCO Executive Director Michelle Palmer, Gladewater City Councilwoman Brandy Flanagan reached out regarding the KC program’s needs.
“They’re looking for a place to house their local classes,” Palmer told her board Jan. 10. “In the next week or two, they’re going to need to start classes up again after the holidays. We’ve got those classrooms at the GCCE building.”
The EDC’s Memorandum of Understanding with Kilgore College permits the institution’s use of the space from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday for their outreach. GEDCO will continue to cover the same utility expenses for the facility.
“That’s very little commitment on GEDCO’s part to be able to support the program,” Palmer said. “It’s so much more space than what they’ve had. They’ll be able to hire another teacher, and they’ll be able to double their classes.
“The more people who are able to go through this program, the more people are being fed into our workforce.”
With resources made available to students at no cost, the adult education and literacy effort is well-attended, said board member Danny Darden, a Kilgore College employee.
“This program kind of targets people who fall through the cracks,” economic consultant Amanda Nobles agreed. “It’s a special population of people that is probably underserved in Gladewater.”
With one board member absent and Darden abstaining, Bardwell’s motion for approval passed 3-0.
“It’ll be good to see it in use,” board member John Paul Tallent said.

– By James Draper

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