Why LearningQuest Exists


Our county needs LearningQuest because of the challenges we have in terms of poverty and lack of education.

  • 37.1% of population is not in the labor force
  • 1 in 2.7 is receiving some sort of public assistance
  • 13.4% of our adult population has less than a 9th grade education
  • 1 in 5 high school students failed to graduate
  • 22% drop out of school and 14.4% of the adult population did not attend high school
  • 77.8% have a high school diploma compared to 86.4% average in US
  • 11.6% have a bachelor’s degree

Stanislaus County adults need remedial education leading to a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalency in order to get a job or get a better job with a living wage. There is a lack of resources in our county. We are one of only four entities offering classes to prepare for the high school equivalency test and one of only two offering instruction in Spanish.

Our agency is also the only provider of adult basic literacy (non-readers to 7th grade level) for English speaking adults. The need for literacy was demonstrated through workforce testing conducted at two manufacturing plants which found that, out of 1,000 applicants, 26% read between 4th and 7th grade level and 25% below a 4th grade level. Our agency has found success in providing individualized tutoring in English using volunteers, and in providing ESL classes in the neighborhoods most in need of services.

LearningQuest History


A woman from the west side of Stanislaus County made the Volunteer Center staff and board aware of the literacy crisis in her community.  She had already started using Laubach materials to try to meet this need, but wanted help from the Volunteer Center to expand and grow the program.  In researching the best way to start a program, California Literacy Association gave technical assistance and training to the Volunteer Center, encouraging the continued use of Laubach Literacy materials.


Tri-Valley Growers cannery realized their employees’ need for literacy and the Volunteer Center responded by providing a literacy program on site, the volunteers to assist with tutoring, and making the program community based.


A literacy program is brought to the Stanislaus County Jail .


Volunteer Center is absorbed into United Way and Stanislaus Literacy Center takes over the non-profit of Volunteer Center and changes its name and mission and continues to provide literacy tutoring.


Karen Williams becomes the first Executive Director of Stanislaus Literacy Center.


The first family literacy and English as a Second Language program is launched at Wakefield Elementary in Turlock.


A partnership with Community Services Agency is formed to provide literacy and pre-GED services for customers on Welfare to Work grants. This leads to 17 years of expansion of services to include GED (now known as High School Equivalency) preparation in five locations and Adult Basic Education in one location.


A partnership with Stanislaus County Library is birthed and LQ begins to operate literacy programs in the library under the name ReadingWorks.


The organization undergoes a move to a larger facility and a name change to LearningQuest (LQ).

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