HURON — Dakota Provisions was recently recognized by the Coalition for Adult Basic Education (COABE) for its workplace excellence as the 2018 Outstanding Workplace of the Year for its ongoing collaborative efforts with a local adult education provider to offer English-language instruction to its employees, helping them to integrate into the community and putting them on a path to economic mobility and professional advancement.
The national award was presented to Mark Heuston, the Human Resources Director for Dakota Provisions, at a COABE event held earlier this month in Phoenix.
The management of Dakota Provisions acknowledges the responsibility they feel toward their employees and the community in which they work and live. The assistance they provide to the Cornerstones Career Learning Center (CCLC) English language programs comes from the desire to help their employees improve their language skills and to become not just better employees, but more fully integrated community members.
“There is no question that Cornerstones students — regardless of where they are employed — benefit from our partnership with Dakota Provisions. Without the support of DP management, we would not be able to offer the number and scope of classes that are available for our participants today,” said CCLC Executive Director Kim Olson. “Dakota Provisions has helped Cornerstones to maximize our offerings to the refugee and immigrant community in Huron, and we are so pleased that their efforts have been recognized at the national level by COABE.”
Dakota Provisions partners with and provides assistance to Cornerstones Career Learning Center, which provides English-language instruction to Dakota Provisions employees. After the company hired a large number of the center's students before they were able to take a post-test to measure their learning progress, the company made time and space at the plant for center staff to administer the test there. Additionally, the company and the center collaborated to offer weekend classes for employees and worked together to develop a workplace literacy program customized for employees interested in supervisory roles.
COABE is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. With COABE members’ support, the adults served through basic education secure quality employment, pay more in taxes, and are better able to support their families. Some 36 million working age Americans have low literacy skills, and more than 60 million can’t perform simple math. COABE and adult basic education are working to address this issue. Dakota Provisions is one employer highlighted as part of Educate & Elevate, a national adult education campaign to move learning opportunities forward for all Americans to achieve economic mobility. A recent Adecco State of the Economy survey highlighted the need for more educated workers. It found that 92 percent of business leaders thought U.S. workers were not as skilled as they needed to be, and according to a 2010 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by this year, 63 percent of all U.S. jobs were expected to require education beyond high school.
Dakota Provisions was recently presented an award for workplace excellence, for its ongoing efforts for adult employee education, which is accomplished in conjunction with Cornerstones Education Center in Huron. Pictured, from left are: Becki Lemke, Cornerstones Education Coordinator; Kim Olson, Cornerstones Executive Director; Mark Heuston, Dakota Provisions Human Resources Director and John Taylor, Cornerstones Adult Education Instructor.
Next, among those on hand to help present Dakota Provisions with its workplace adult education award included, from left: Kaye Sharbono, Coalition for Adult Basic Education (COABE) President; Denine Torr, Dollar General Senior Director of the Community Initiatives; Mark Heuston, Dakota Provisions Human Resources Director and Dr. Danielle Miles, COABE Awards Chair and COABE Executive Director Sharon Bonney.