Like many communities in Illinois, Dixon has lost the majority of manufacturing jobs in the past several years. The unemployment rate has risen steadily and public aid recipients have increased considerably. Project VITAL at Sauk Valley Community College is the only tutoring program in the college’s 1,625 square mile district and many businesses and social service agencies rely on them to help their clients and employees.
Such is the case of a student who had recently become unemployed when he approached VITAL for help. His tutor used various techniques and books from her tutor training as well as farm journals as a study text. This student at one time had his own farm but lost it in the 1980′s. He always wanted to return to the land for work but ended up in manufacturing. His tutor resurrected this goal and helped him write a resume and fill out job applications. He found a job working for a farm supply company, which required him to mix grains with vitamins and medicines for cattle.
Having a renewed sense of self-confidence, this student was able to be upfront about his limitations with his new boss. He studied with his tutor using old chemical and grain labels from discarded bags along with safety-spec sheets. He and his tutor studied each word, abbreviation and combination ratio carefully. He passed the written safety test and mixed many tons of grain each day with confidence. He now has a full time position with a farm and will be taking on more responsibilities.
He continues with tutoring sessions to meet his long-term goal of helping his children with schoolwork. His great determination to get back on his feet and provide for his family has been an inspiration to many, especially his children and wife.