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JJC adult education funding at risk

“When adult ed works, you work, the state works, the nation works.” - State Senator Pat McGuire -

4/11/2017, 9:42 a.m.
State Sen. Pat McGuire renewed a call for adult education funding as the Illinois House passed a stopgap budget measure ...

State Sen. Pat McGuire renewed a call for adult education funding as the Illinois House passed a stopgap budget measure that would dedicate funds to programs like Joliet Junior College’s Adult Education and Literacy program.

Emilie McCallister, director of Joliet Junior College’s program, said the program’s 50 instructors and roughly 2,000 students all await some word that the state will approve the funds to keep the program operating. The program helps adults get a GED or high school diploma, teaches English as a second language and provides training for those seeking U.S. citizenship.

“How many years can we do this? This can’t continue,” McCallister said. “Joliet Junior College has been extremely good to adult education. We haven’t had to make any severe cuts, but now they’re getting to the point, too, where the college is now in a budget deficit. And there will be some things that will end up on the chopping block.”

As adult students and their teachers rallied in Springfield last month to promote the importance of adult education programs in Illinois, State Sen. Pat McGuire joined them to call for stable funding, passage of the Senate grand bargain bipartisan compromise, and an end to the budget impasse.

“We have an obligation to support you. It’s been almost two years since the state of Illinois has had a budget. No state in the nation has ever gone this long without a budget. When Democrats and Republicans fight, you lose,” McGuire said. “Three weeks ago, we were within one hour of passing the grand bargain, and Governor Rauner told Republicans to vote ‘No.’ Please emphasize to Governor Rauner that adult education works. When adult ed works, you work, the state works, the nation works.”

McGuire, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, annually works to make sure funds for adult education are appropriated to community colleges and non-profit organizations.

“Adult education gives a second chance to men and women who want to upgrade their basic skills, become more productive, and set an example for their children,” McGuire said. “And second chances are what America is all about.”