PHILADELPHIA, PA—The nonprofit Community Learning Center (CLC) responded to the urgent coronavirus outbreak by moving all adult literacy and general education classes for 700 vulnerable Philadelphians online in only one week. Amidst campus closures, staff collected and delivered donated laptops to households citywide so that learners could continue their education throughout Philadelphia’s shutdown.
CLC serves an overwhelmingly indigent population, with 87% of learners living below the federal poverty line. With centers located in North and West Philly, CLC provides free high school equivalency, workforce development, and English as a Second Language classes to low-income adults seeking to change their lives through education and employment. This is the first time the organization has moved all instruction to distance-based learning. Yet in just over a week, individuals taking classes have already made strides in their learning.
“This is an unprecedented time for CLC, as it is for many organizations,” says Kimmell Proctor, Executive Director of CLC. “But there is a huge silver lining here. Our whole community of staff, learners, and donors, is rising to the occasion to show that they are committed to education and hopeful about the future, even in the midst of a global crisis. As our learners take online classes, we can track their learning gains in real-time. One individual moved his math score up in three skill areas in just one evening!”
That learner, Jeremiah Roberts, participates in daily adult literacy classes at his Strawberry Mansion home while also caring for his family during the crisis. Of the way that CLC handled the transition to online learning, he said, “Taking online classes at home is actually great for me. It’s more convenient.”
CLC will provide distance learning services for adult learners as long as current travel and work restrictions are in place. The organization’s 15 teachers will continue leading small classes of diverse learners online, and learners like Jeremiah can continue to hone their skills at their own pace, in their own homes.
ABOUT COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER
Community Learning Center (CLC) is a top-performing adult literacy nonprofit organization serving low-income adults in Philadelphia with learning sites located in North and West Philadelphia. CLC’s mission is to empower vulnerable adults in Philadelphia with academic and employment skills so that they can realize their fullest potential at home and in the workforce. Founded in 1987, CLC provides FREE adult basic education, high school equivalency preparation (GED and HiSET tests), workforce preparation, and English as a second language classes (ESL), and tutoring. Today, CLC provides its free services to more than 700 adult learners each year. For more information, visit www.communitylearningcenter.org.