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Amsterdam Literacy Zone Celebrates Teacher Aide Program Completers

A graduation ceremony was held recently honoring a group of bilingual and bicultural individuals who completed a short-term training program to prepare them to be teacher aides in local school districts.

The celebration was held at the Amsterdam Literacy Zone on Friday, Jan. 26 and was hosted by the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Office of Adult Literacy & Corrections Educations who offered the training program.

Laurie Bargstedt, Administrative Coordinator of the Adult Literacy & Corrections Education program, says the teacher aide training program was designed to improve employment opportunities for bilingual and bicultural individuals in high quality jobs with career path options.

“We’re seeing schools enroll a greater number of students from many cultures, and with that there is a need to support educators and students,” said Bargstedt. “This program helps to bridge communication gaps and fill vacancies in those high need areas, all while expanding employment opportunities for these individuals.”

Those who enroll in the program are job seekers, often professionals with degrees and credentials from other countries, and are beginning their educational career pathway in the United States. 

Participants learn about the essential functions of teacher aides, typical tasks associated with the position, and the array of possible assignments available to teacher aides.

Upon completion of the training program, area schools will have access to bilingual and bicultural job seekers who desire to work in educational settings.

Isabel Pizzaro, who was honored during the brief ceremony, said enrolling in the teacher aide training program was a good decision for her.

“It’s a good opportunity to learn new skills. I would tell others who are interested in the program to take the course,” said Pizzaro.

The Paraprofessional/Teacher Aide Training program was offered at no cost to participants thanks to grant funding provided through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). 

Training is provided at the Amsterdam Literacy Zone which is located at the United Presbyterian Church, 25 Church Street in Amsterdam.

For more information about the program, please contact Tressa Lake at 518-736-4681, ext. 4631 or Laurie Bargstedt at 518-736-4681 ext. 4636.

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