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More than 50% of the women who enter the Marian House program lack a high school diploma. On average, new residents perform at a sixth grade level in reading and math. Not only is this deficit a real barrier to finding employment that pays a living wage, it also hinders our clients from realizing their full potential.
To address this obstacle, Marian House maintains on-site educational services for both residents and alumnae. Upon entrance into the program, each resident is given an educational assessment. Together, the resident and the educational coordinator then develop an individualized educational plan. A typical plan might include attendance in the GED class offered twice a week through a partnership with the Greater Homewood Community Corporation Adult Literacy & ESOL Program, use of specially-designed computer software that allows students to learn and practice skills independently, and/or one-on-one tutoring.
The Marian House Education Center currently has four computer workstations for residents' use. In addition to academic software, each computer is equipped with the Microsoft Office Suite and internet access, as well as a typing tutorial. These computers are linked to the computers in the residents' living quarters so that the educational software is available after hours and on weekends. Our full-time Education Coordinator is available five days a week for assessments, tutoring, assistance with software and teaching small classes. Her schedule is flexible, which enables her to provide services outside of regular office hours for students who are employed. Volunteer tutors also assist with individual instruction.
Two or three times a year, an eight-session introduction to computers is offered. Additionally, residents use the Education center computers to type resumes, conduct on-line employment searches, apply for jobs on-line, check credit reports and prepare income tax returns.
In Fiscal Year, 2007, 67 residents participated in our On-Site Education program for a total of 1,482 instructional hours.
Marian House has always encouraged its women to further their education beyond a high school diploma. To that end a scholarship program for alumnae was established in 1990. Former residents may apply for a Marian House scholarship to help defray the cost of tuition and books for college or other certificate and training programs. To date, with the help of the scholarship program, 24 former residents have acquired college degrees, including 4 Master's Degrees. Twenty-four women have obtained educational certificates and 31 others have received college credits.