Adult learning centre in Kenora honoured with big award

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The town of Kenora

An adult learning centre in Kenora that helps Indigenous people expand their literacy skills and connect to job opportunities is this year’s Ontario winner of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award.

Premier Kathleen Wynne recognized Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre for helping Indigenous adult learners overcome multiple barriers to education and employment. For the past 16 years, the team at the centre, led by Executive Director Katherine Shine, has worked with local learners to improve their literacy and numeracy skills so they can pursue additional training and education, find a job and become financially independent.

Wynne said: “Literacy skills are the foundation for lifelong success. The team at Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre is helping Indigenous adult learners build their skills — and helping build Ontario up as a place where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential.”

Since 2004, Canada’s Premiers have annually recognized one recipient from each province and territory for outstanding achievement, innovative practice and excellence in literacy. The awards celebrate contributions in areas such as family, Indigenous, health, workplace and community literacy. The Premiers present the awards to learners, educators, volunteers, community organizations and businesses.

Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, said: “The training and guidance people receive at Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre marks a significant turning point in their lives. The three-person team at the centre may be small, but they are making enormous contributions to adult literacy to help some of Ontario’s most at-risk learners. Congratulations to Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre on receiving this important honour.”

Today marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.

  • Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills Program provides free training to adult learners 19 years or older who have reading, writing and math skills below the grade 12 level.
  • In 2015–16, this program helped more than 42,000 people, 10 per cent of whom were Indigenous learners. After exiting the program, 73 per cent of all participants found a job or went on to further education. – CINEWS
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