Ohio’s Adult Basic Literacy Education program has been renamed as Aspire. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Photo: Michael D. Pitman
Photo: Michael D. Pitman

Ohio ABLE renamed to Aspire, Miami student touts program benefits

The name better reflects the mission of the program, which is more than just providing basic literacy skills and education.

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“It means that we’re going to help students,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey. “Aspire is about helping over 1 million adults get to their GED or to get whatever is next.”

Ohio Adult Basic Literacy Education, or ABLE, provides free services for people in need of acquiring skills in post-secondary education and training, and employment. There are more than four dozen providers for the state’s 88 counties, including Butler Tech and Hamilton City School District in Butler County; Warren County Joint Vocational Schools in Warren County; Clark State Community College and Springfield City Schools in Clark County; and Miami Valley Career Technology Center, Kettering City Schools and Upper Valley Career Center in the Miami Valley.

Ohio Board of Regents Vice Chancellor Gary Cates said Monday’s announcement demonstrates how the program “is evolving to better serve Ohioans striving to reach their education and employment goals.”

Iraqi-born Raghad Algbory, 21, is enrolled at Miami University as Diplomacy and Global Politics major because of the Ohio ABLE program, and now says, “I have my future in my hand.”

She and her family were refugees from Syria, via Turkey. She eventually made her way to Southwest Ohio, and with the ABLE Program — Adult Basic Literacy Education — learned English, American culture and how to succeed in an unfamiliar country as she navigates the start of adulthood.

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“We all need help, a lot of people need help,” Algbory said. “It wasn’t easy, but being here with supportive teachers, they made us feel that language is not the big (barrier).”

Miami University worked with the Ohio Department of Higher Education to develop a re-branding of the program, which was unveiled at the Great Oaks Career Campuses district office in Sharonville.

Pi Sigma Epsilon, a professional business student organization at Miami University, was tasked with the re-branding project.

Miami University graduate Sam Wilkes, the project manager for the research project, said what they found was those in the ABLE Program were there “to change their lives.”

The Miami University research team found, among other things, Ohio adults without a high school diploma were reluctant to enroll in adult education programs, and recent immigrants had enrolled to learn English and American culture. Also, there was a lack of pride and confidence in the ABLE name, and the name didn’t reflect the capabilities of the students.

“Our task was to get the essence of these focus groups, the essence of the group, what they felt about it, and then create a name from there,” said Wilkes. “ABLE is a great name, but ABLE wasn’t capturing what they were able to do. They have so much more than Adult Basic Literacy Education.”

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