Through our Departments of Community Education and Community Revitalization, we work to build vibrant and resilient communities that make the most out of residents’ talents, energy and ideas. We help build individual skills and coordinate collective action to improve our community’s physical appearance, economic vitality, and social connections. We work to improve our community’s appreciation of the benefits of diversity so that all can benefit from increased community engagement. For more information about how you can benefit or contribute, see below.
Adult Literacy, ESL, & Citizenship Education
The Scranton Council of Literacy Advance (SCOLA) has provided free adult literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) education since 1975. In 2011, SCOLA merged with UNC and moved to 631 Cedar Avenue in South Scranton, where it is open Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The facility offers free ESL classes, one-on-one tutoring, and a computer lab for independent self-study. We teach a Family Literacy program specially designed for ESL adults with children in third grade or younger, a Citizenship class for those preparing to pass the U.S. citizenship test, a Language Partnership class for those looking to learn either English or Spanish, and Job Placement services for recent immigrants looking to enter or advance up a career ladder. We depend crucially on volunteers to provide English tutoring and teach classes. For more information, contact UNC’s Director of Community Education, Terilynn Brechtel at 570-346-6203.
Upward Economic Mobility Program
Through a partnership with Johnson College, UNC offers a workforce development program to provide participants with the skills and support needed be successful in a technical education program that will prepare them for a career in one of the region’s high-demand occupations, including Certified Nursing Assistants, Medical Assistants, machine operators, welders, and plumbers. With grant support from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the NEPA Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care program, UNC provides skills training in areas like communications, networking, problem solving, and professionalism and provides support to overcome barriers to class attendance and successful completion of the Johnson College training program. These support services may include English language classes, child care, food, transportation, or other assistance to help them complete their education and prepare for a successful career. For more information, call (570) 346-6203.
UNC works with residents and other partners to revitalize neighborhoods through projects that include renovating old buildings into new housing and commercial space; creating or supporting community groups that address community image, commerce and safety; and hosting of social/cultural events to build community pride. For example, in 2008, UNC led a community-wide effort to make physical, social, and economic improvements in the South Scranton neighborhood. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development then designated the neighborhood an “Elm Street Community,” providing additional financial assistance. In 2010, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation also became a major supporter, helping UNC secure millions of dollars to make numerous improvements to the area. Recently, UNC has embarked on a new project to revitalize the Pine Brook neighborhood of Scranton. For more information about UNC’s neighborhood revitalization work, contact the Director of Community Revitalization, Chrissy Manuel, at 570-346-6203.
South Side Farmers Market
As part of our work to revitalize the South Scranton neighborhood, and in order to address a lack of local access to fresh, affordable food, UNC created the South Side Farmers Market in 2010. Since that time, the market has expanded to a year-round indoor/outdoor market that can draw hundreds of people on a Saturday. The Market offers locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, meat, and baked goods. The Market’s outdoor location is at the corner of Alder Street and 600 Cedar Avenue and the indoor location is at 601 Cedar Avenue in Scranton. The Market is open Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information, click here or call Market Manager Holly Yorkonis at 570-346-6203. You can also follow the Market’s Facebook page.