January 11, 2002
Lilly Endowment helps counties meet educational needs
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University Extension will expand its support of lifelong learning for adults and youths in Tipton and Pulaski counties with help from Lilly Endowment grants.
John Huie, special assistant to the president, said a learning center in Tipton will have many of the same components as the Learning Network of Clinton County, another Extension learning center. Three additional Extension learning centers are located in Hendricks, Marshall and Whitley counties.
In Tipton County, there will be an adult learning program focusing on literacy development, work force and continuing education. Working with the Northern Tipton School Corp. and Tipton Community School Corp., a children and youth program will offer parent training, alternative schooling, preschool and K-12 curriculum development and teacher development training.
"This is a great opportunity for a rural community like Tipton," Huie said. "Both youth and adults will benefit from the center's programs. The community will benefit from classes held at businesses, schools and other convenient locations. The educational programs travel to the students."
James Woolf, Purdue Extension educator in Tipton County, said the new center will touch many people, offering them opportunities to learn without leaving the county.
"Over 1,500 Internet-based and satellite courses will be offered through the Indiana College Network," Woolf said. "Students can take credit courses to finish a bachelor's degree or even start a master's degree. High school students who graduate and are not ready to go away for college can start basic courses. We also can enhance education through work force development courses."
Over the next three years, more than $3 million will be given by the Endowment to develop the Tipton County learning center and its programs, Huie said. Woolf said he anticipates the learning center will begin offering some courses beginning in June.
The Pulaski County Community Foundation will receive more than $473,000 from the Endowment to establish the Pulaski County Learning Network in cooperation with Purdue Extension. The learning network will provide post-secondary and career development, distance learning opportunities and reading programs in county schools, said Michael Reetz, Pulaski County Extension director and educator.
"A learning network in Pulaski County will impact the county in many ways," Reetz said. "Adults can stay current with certifications or be retrained for jobs. Community members will not have to drive somewhere for training or classes. The learning network will bring education closer to the community and will help the employment base here."
"Purdue University's Extension Service has a long history of bringing education to local communities," according to the grant proposal submitted by the Pulaski County Community Foundation. "This is an opportunity for Purdue Extension to play a significant role in linking the local community to the world's educational resources. With the addition of local educators and the necessary support, an expanded vision of Extension's role in the educational delivery system can emerge."
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Michael Reetz, (219) 946-3412, firstname.lastname@example.org
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