IMPACT, the former Adult Learning Center will be losing its instructor, Liz Johnson, who has been with the center since 2010.
When Johnson started at IMPACT, the name was the Adult Learning Center, it was located in the Board of Education building and it was only a part-time job, three days per week.
Johnson conducted a community needs survey which led to results saying that there was an equal need for adult education classes during the evening and during the day.
During the next grant cycle, Johnson applied for more grant funding for evening classes, along with their own separate facility and was able to secure the grant.
IMPACT, then moved to Main Avenue in 2013, with day and evening classes for adults, to better themselves and their lives. The evening classes were done away with roughly one year ago, due to a decline in participation, for those working, then coming to class in the evening.
In December of 2016, IMPACT made their next move to Garton Plaza, where they are located to this day. The move was made due to needing a more spacious area and the location at Main Avenue, was not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
“It really has been great, it is completely different from what I did before. I was in survey researching, writing, editing and did training in the early 90s,” said Johnson.
Johnson said that she actually lucked into the job, because prior to, she was doing work in literacy volunteering, when a friend, who had a career in adult education told her about the job, and she jumped at the opportunity.
Johnson was a Gallop Poll employee for about 15 years, and when the economy went south, she was let go from the company. That is when she developed her love for helping adults with literacy and other education tools needed to succeed.
“If you cannot read, you cannot be well-informed. Being able to read, give your better access to information, which leads better decision making,” Johnson stated.
“When I stepped into the position, it was natural for me,” she continued.
Johnson said that the adult education world is like a family, every works together for the betterment of the students, and if anyone needs help with anything, everyone comes together.
“The change was wonderful, going from a corporate-driven career, to helping people better themselves,” said Johnson.
Johnson started her career in adult education, during the October conference, which is held every year, and with her new career path, she will be organizing these conferences.
The largest change Johnson said that adult education has seen over the last seven years, is the way the program is structured now. Prior to, adult education’s main focus was people earning their high school diplomas, whereas now adult education’s focus is getting adults into the workforce, in sustainable jobs.
This includes teaching them trades, getting into secondary educational, trade schools, learning how to build a resume and more.
Johnson and her husband moved to West Virginia, from Maryland, in 2002, when the suburb in Maryland, where they were living for the last several years, started becoming overpopulous.
“I really like this community,” said Johnson. “Before, we never knew our neighbors, and now, here we know everyone. It is nice, a real community.”
“The support of the community, for adult education has been tremendous, everyone wants to help. It is not a one-woman show, the community has made us what we are today,” concluded Johnson.