Adult Literacy

Woman holding certificate of achievement

Our Adult Learning Lab in southwest Detroit helps adults improve their reading, math and computer skills so they can be better qualified for employment. Instruction includes skills for exploring careers and finding employment. Except for a small registration fee, these services are free for eligible participants.


The Adult Learning Lab is located at 4214 Vernor, across from Clark Park. 

The lab offers:

  • High School Equivalency (GED) Preparation
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) for adults needing remedial training in reading and/or math
  • Educational support for those entering college who need remedial help
  • Digital Literacy and Computer Sills
  • One-on-One tutoring for High School Equivalency (GED) Preparation
  • Academic and career counseling
  • Workplace skills preparation
  • Referrals to wraparound services
  • Financial literacy
  • Instruction and resources for trainees in workforce development programs
  • Citizenship Classes
  • The College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    • SWES provides classes and preparation for the credit-by-examination program for introductory college -leve; material to earn college credit. 

Participants must be at least 18 years old and have a goal of finding employment or improving their work situation, low-income  unemployed or underemployed. Eligible adults do not need to reside in Detroit to enroll in the lab.

There are 20 computer stations at the Learning Lab and 16 at the Harris Literacy Program for learners to work on their lessons, with staff instructors and volunteers offering tutoring 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 provides classes from 9:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M. Monday through Thursday, with office hours by appointment on 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.

The lab works closely 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 support, develop educational and employment opportunities, build wealth, and move up the economic ladder.


The Adult Learning Lab needs tutors to help students with math, English and other subject areas. Sign-up to be a volunteer here.

Program Partners and Sponsors

Many partners are working with Southwest Solutions to provide services and support for the lab. These include Wayne State University, Henry Ford College, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation and Michigan Works!, Madonna University Writing Center, Global Detroit, Dominican Literacy Center and All Saints Literacy Center. In June 2014 the Learning Lab was invited by Reading Works Detroit to become one of nine Impact Partners providing direct literacy service to metro Detroit. When it began in January 2011, the lab was funded through a three-year grant of $100,000 a year from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG). The lab now receives annual state support through WIOA II funds as well as numerous grants and donations. Since opening the lab has received funding support from the Charter One Foundation, First Independence Bank, Gannett Foundation, Rotary Club of Detroit, and a multi-year grant from the Hearst Foundations.


The Southwest Solutions’ Adult Learning Labs work with local community artists to bring artistic and cultural programming to our students, made possible with funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council.


Need More Help?


Our Adult Learning Lab in southwest Detroit has served over 1,700 individuals since opening in 2011

In 2019, 14 students have completed their GED, another 27 completed one or more sections of the GED, and more than 50 others continued to work to get ready for the exam.

Students from our Adult Learning Labs regularly exceed the State of Michigan’s Measurable Skills Gain target of 47 percent.

Adult Learning Lab enrolled about 300 students in Adult Basic Education, GED preparation and ESL classes in 2019.