Representatives from several government, civic organizations and businesses within the
Dawson County named ‘Certified Literate Community’
Designation means stronger work force
Dawson County became a Certified Literate Community (CLP) on Wednesday, May 24. The CLC designation is significant, according to State CLCP Director Annaliza Thomas, because it indicates that over half the community has achieved a high school diploma or GED and that the community has worked together to create opportunities and avenues for community members to meet their educational goals.
Reading Education Association of Dawson County, Inc. (R.E.A.D.) fulfilled all criteria to become a Certified Literacy Community Program (CLCP).
“There are times when you feel like ‘will we ever do it’ but we’ve done it,” Sandy Lipkowitz, executive director of READ said. “Hopefully it will impact businesses coming into Dawson County and economic development to know that we have a literate workforce.”
Explaining that there are several criteria a program must meet in order to be recommended for certification, Thomas said Dawson County exceeded her expectations in one: community collaboration.
Former Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) Commissioner
“Dawson County’s adult literacy program has truly been a shining example of the positive social and economic impact a community collaboration can have,” Thomas said. Community partners in the effort to irradiate illiteracy in Dawson County include representatives from Lanier Technical College, elected officials, and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Tech commented on the importance of a GED program. The work READ does through its GED program is, according to Perren, not only changing lives today, but it is also changing the lives of future generations.
Dawson County Commissioner Julie Nix, currently serving on the READ Advisory board, has been involved with read since 1995. She also touted the efforts of READ within the community.
“As a result of the hard work of the READ board, students will get GEDs, have more earning power, make more money, improve their self esteem, and have opportunities to further their education,” Nix said. “This improves the work force in Dawson County and makes the community wonderful.”
Community support came from the state level as Rep. Kevin Tanner, promised his continued support.
“With the time that I remain in state government I commit to you that I’m going to work hard to make sure that we fully fund adult education, technical colleges and adult literacy,” Tanner said.
The CLCP was the brain child of Dr. Kenneth Breeden, according to Lipkowitz.
“He’s the one that instituted this and presented it to then Governor Zell Miller,” Thomas said. “He hired Billie Izard, our first state CLCP director, too.”