Southwest Economic Solutions
Adult Learning Lab

Our Adult Learning Lab in southwest Detroit helps adults improve their literacy, math and computer skills so they can be better qualified for employment. These services are free for eligible participants.



The Adult Learning Lab is located at 4214 Vernor, across from Clark Park. In January 2014, the Learning Lab opened a second site in southwest Detroit called the Wayne State University / Harris Literacy Program in southwest Detroit. It is located at 8640 W Vernor Hwy (near Lawndale Street).

The lab offers:

  • GED preparation
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) for students testing below 9th grade in reading and/or math
  • Educational support for those entering college who need remedial help
  • Computer literacy classes and one-on-one tutoring
  • Academic and career counseling
  • Workplace skills preparation
  • Referrals to Wraparound services
  • Financial literacy as part of GED and ESL classes
  • Instruction and resources for trainees in workforce development programs

These services are free for eligible participants. Clients must be at least 19 years old, low-income and unemployed or underemployed. Eligible adults do not need to reside in Detroit to enroll in the lab.

There are 20 computer stations in the lab for learners to work on their lessons, with staff instructors and volunteers offering tutoring and assistance.

Each adult who participates in the lab is initially tested to assess his or her skills. Based on this assessment, an individualized learning plan is created for the participant to follow.

The lab is open 50 hours a week, Monday through Friday. . The lab has an open access policy, enabling students to complete the program on their own time. By enhancing their skills, learners will be more likely to secure work, be successful in job training programs, and advance in the workplace.

To learn more about the Adult Learning Lab or the Wayne State University / Harris Literacy Program, please email Tim McGorey or call him at 313-451-8056. 





  • In 2013, the Adult Learning Lab enrolled 266 persons in Adult Basic Education (ABE), GED preparation and ESL classes; 122 participated in ESL, 138 in GED; 13 individuals achieved their GED

The lab works closley with the Center for Working Families (CWF) based at Southwest Economic Solutions. The mission of CWF is to help low-income families reach financial stability, access income supports, develop educational and employment opportunities, build wealth, and move up the economic ladder.

Many partners are working with Southwest Solutions to provide services and support for the lab. These include Henry Ford Community College, The Greening of Detroit, WARM Training Center, Detroit Workforce Development Department, Madonna University Writing Center, University of Detroit Mercy Immigration Law Clinic, and Urban Neighborhood Initiatives.

When if began in January 2012, the lab was funded through a three-year grant of $100,000 a year from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG).

Funding was also provided through a $10,000 grant from Charter One Foundation and a $10,000 grant from First Independence Bank.

The Learning Lab was awarded a Gannett Foundation Community Grant for the purchase of new English as Second Language instructional materials and to create a tutor recruitment and training program on May 25, 2012. These enhancements to the ESL program will allow the Learning Lab to increase the number of students and the quality of instruction. The grant is made possible through the Gannett Foundation, Detroit Media Partnership and the Detroit Free Press.

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