Opinion: VAL serves many consituencies

As employees of Addison County Vermont Adult Learning (VAL), we wish to offer clarification about comments that were made regarding our role in the community in two recent articles covering our possible move to a new, more central location (Addison Independent “HOPE seeking to fill vacancies” Oct. 23 and “HOPE seeks hold on its mortgage” Nov. 3).
We agree with our center coordinator’s positive comments about our long relationship with HOPE, but we were concerned that comments made by HOPE’s executive director may have given the impression that there is a low-income requirement to attend classes or enter into one of the programs offered at Vermont Adult Learning.
Although some of our students may obtain services through HOPE, most do not. Participation at VAL is available at no cost to all adults regardless of income level, prior education or employment status.
What is required is a desire to improve one’s reading, writing or math skills in order to obtain a high school diploma, pass the GED test, or to enter or re-enter the work force. Others come to us to prepare for their dream of obtaining a college degree.
Although our students come to us for various reasons and from a variety of backgrounds, they share the common goal of self-improvement through education. Our focus at Vermont Adult Learning is to provide basic skills for college and career readiness — for everyone.
Natalie Reigle,Nancy McFadden
On behalf of the Addison County VAL staff, Middlebury

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