HAWLEY - Ratios, proportions and square roots? Oh my! That is the reaction of plenty of us whose experience with mathematics left us a bit of a fraction, divided our impressions of school days or multiplied our anxieties when applying for a job or trying to pass an SAT exam, applying for a job or certification test.

Help has come, and the total cost equals zero.

This summer, Workforce Alliance, through their partner organization, Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) of Pennsylvania, Inc. is offering a “Summer Math Drop-in Lab” every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, through August 16.

The classroom is at the Workforce Alliance office, 92 Main Ave., Hawley (located behind the Sunoco and across from Bingham Park).

Introducing the tutor

Your math tutor is Ben Horowitz, a Delaware Valley High School graduate and senior at East Stroudsburg University. The Milford resident said he is a physics major and would like to go on to graduate school, to receive a doctorate and opposition teaching at the college level.

He has six years tutoring experience, beginning back at DV. He said tutoring came naturally to him, and seeing the ‘light go on” as one of his pupils comes to understand the fundamentals of math or being able to solve a math-based problem, is a nice feeling. The success, he said, is shared by the tutor and student, but Horowitz said the tutor’s role is to help guide them to the answer.

Horowitz commented that a lot of people struggling with math “shut down” rather than pursue understanding it further. As a tutor, he said he tries to relate problems to what is important to the student and according to the students’ interests. 

Students & adults

Carolyn Quinn, Executive Director of EOC of PA, said that they really don’t have an age limit. The math tutoring benefits high school students needing some assistance or preparing to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The math lab benefits adults applying for jobs that require knowledge of calculations, ratios, proportions or other math concepts. It can help those seeking various certifications.

She noted that the summer SAT is in August 24, and the land can help students prepare for the math portion. “Having someone like Ben who actually can teach them the correct way to use the calculator, it helps them improve their scores…”

EOC also can assist with vouchers to her pay for two parts of the test, she said.

Cheryl Duquette, Director of Program Development, said that Workforce Alliance in Hawley has a GED testing facility. Working with their partner organizations, once someone is taking their GED practice test and get a passing grade, they can be connected to receive vouchers for two of the modules for the GED.

SAT prep

Through a Wayne County United Way grant, Quinn said, EOC was able to offer the SAT prep in the three high schools serving Wayne, to 90 students this past school year.

“The funny part is going in the first day, how many kids don’t even really understand what the SAT is comprised of,” Quinn reflected. “And yet without doing prep they would just be walking in to take a test. Just by getting them to taking a practice test in advance their score would improve.

Add the fact that a tutor is going to guide them and help them figure things out…,” she added, “He [Horowitz] teaches the way to do math questions without using actual calculations. It’s understanding the problem and the numbers enough to do process of elimination and come to those answers.”

SATs, Quinn said, are particularly examined by colleges to give scholarship money. The college admission office offers scholarships based on GPA (Grade Point Average) and the SAT score.

GRE tests (Graduate Record Exam) having basic high school level math questions.

Helps job applicants

Dislocated workers, people who have lost a job or for other reason are training for a new job, can benefit from assessing themselves with career entrance testing, Quinn said. “More and more employers are using a test as part of the interview process,” she said. One example are Wal-Mart distribution centers. The job application is done online, which leads the job seekers to a basic math test. EOC’s tutors can help with that, Quinn said.

Healthcare fields require math, Quinn added, as an example. Many disciplines involve knowledge of math concepts.

Tutoring is offered year-round, on a case by case basis, Quinn said, although the lab is offered in the summer. Quinn stated that if Friday mornings are not good, arrangements may be able to be made with the tutor for another time or place, such as a public library.

Many opportunities

EOC offers numerous workshops as well, which are held at the Workforce Development Workforce Alliance office in Honesdale. Workshop titles in June included Hot Job, Interviewing Skills, Health Careers and Logistics. All of these are offered free to the public.

“It really assist individuals in multiple capacities with education in workforce and in business,” Quinn said. “A lot of people are not aware of the resources that are provided by Workforce Alliance or what they can be connected to. EOC is one of those fantastic resources that serve our community in multiple capacities.”

These include, in part, working with PA Education Higher Assistance Agency, scholarship information, visiting college campuses, discussing careers, resume writing, interviewing, as well as tutoring in various subjects. EOC works in several counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

For more information about the math lab and other opportunities, call Workforce Alliance at 570-331-6755. Register for tutoring by emailing beneoc130@gmail.com.