ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — In Illinois, 1.2 million people lack basic literacy skills, limiting educational growth and job opportunities.

More than 36 million adults nationwide lack basic skills in reading, writing, and math.

Rock Valley College is one of 72 education providers in the state offering programs to serve an increasing demand for adult education.

The Rock Valley College Adult Education Program offers classes online or in person to improve basic skills in reading, writing and math.

The number of students in need of adult education is increasing in the Stateline area, says Tricia Wagner, director of adult education for the college.

“We have more students that are in need of the English language and we have more students that need or could benefit from an Illinois high school diploma,” said Wagner.

The program offers English as a second language classes and adult basic and secondary education, which “is the same thing as a GED completion program, where we’re preparing students for the GED test,” Wagner said.

A transition coordinator and college advisors are also available at the college to help students navigate the sometimes-tricky path to education beyond high school.

“Free classes are available to assist students in not only reaching these goals but in exploring college and careers plus gaining exposure and confidence of the many further achievements that are accessible through RVCs certificate and degree programs,” said Wagner.

“It really is making an investment into our whole community. You’re improving literacy components for our K-12, you’re improving the outcomes and what our students can actually access in life as far as jobs and achievements, and then you’re also assisting our entire community to be more economically healthy.”

For more information about adult education programs and services at RVC, click here.