New school helps students grow in knowledge

 The Learning Bank Network, a collaboration of educational institutions taking over an old Monroe Bank and Trust branch, launched Wednesday with its first orientation.
 The Learning Bank is an institution that will help members of the community 18 and older grow in knowledge and gain more skill that is expected to get a job in this present day. This new organization will also be geared toward those who want to achieve their GED, or just need help in updating their previous knowledge readying themselves to take college courses.
 “We will know we are successful when people get their GED or have improved their knowledge level,” said Learning Bank Network Coordinator Vuncia Council. “We want in some way to allow them to increase their income or be able to get a job to support them or their families.”  
 Located on East First Street, the Learning Bank, collaborated back in December, was originally supposed to have its grand opening on September 1. The orientation took place Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Arthur Lesow Community Center though from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and it was open to anyone who wanted to attend. The next orientation will be scheduled on November 4.
 For right now, since the building is not yet ready for the Learning Bank, the classes will be starting and held at the Community Center. Unforeseen issues in acquiring the grant money prevented the Learning Bank from opening on schedule. Not wanting to push the date back any further they decided to put things in motion as soon as possible thus starting off at the center.  
 Signing up is a group of no more than 25 students who will enroll in classes instructed by Carol Nolian and Vuncia Council. The size of the classes and the teachers or volunteers will be added and increased as the program grows. The classes last a total of 12 weeks, or if on the fast track, students could be done as little as 6 weeks. Thanks to the grants the program is free, but certain financial requirements must be met.
 Upon starting off, there will be career counseling for the future students, compliments of Michigan works and MCCC. Also, students will be able to meet with Monroe County Opportunity Program, who comes once a week to see what problems may occur that could affect the students coming to class, or working to their full potential. Such problems may include child care, money, jobs, etc.   
 Involved in helping make the Learning Bank become a reality are Governor Jennifer Granholm who gave a grant of $300,000- part of the 2.5 million awarded to 10 regional partnerships to help in the No Worker Left Behind Fund for adult education. Other associates include MCCC, the Arthur Lesow Community Center, the Bedford and Mason School Districts, SEMCAMichigan Works, Monroe County ISD, City of Monroe, United Way, the Monroe County Library System, Monroe County opportunities Program, the Salvation Army, Monroe County Opportunity System, City of Hope CDC and Monroe Bank and Trust.