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Adult Learning Center (ALC)


In October 2014, Pine Street Presbyterian Church opened the Adult Learning Center (ALC), its newest community outreach mission program to serve members of the greater Harrisburg area.  The ALC at Pine Street is housed on the main floor of the Boyd Memorial Center at 234 South Street, down from the corner of Third and South Streets.

Who Should Attend ? 

The Adult Learning Center at Pine Street has been designed to provide highly personalized, student-centered education to adults over the age of 18 from our area who wish to enroll in a formal GED classroom-based program, but who would like to improve in one or more of these areas before they begin their GED studies:

  • basic math skills,
  • basic reading and language skills,
  • study skills,
  • test taking skills,
  • basic computer skills and
  • the transition from ESL to basic literacy academic skills

Enrollment & Classes 

The ALC operates in collaboration with Tri-County Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) located at 5th and Maclay Streets in Harrisburg. OIC has offered GED courses and other training to adults in the Harrisburg community since 1965. Their website is The Pine Street campus functions as a much needed “rapid response re-entry” program offering targeted, individualized instruction based on each student’s own specific learning needs.

Adults who feel this educational approach would benefit them should first contact Tri-County OIC at (717) 238-7318, for more information and to apply for admission to the overall GED program.  Those recommended for enrollment at the ALC at Pine Street will be identified by the Tri-County OIC staff and then will be assigned to this new downtown campus.  Please note that ALL students wanting to attend the Adult Learning Center at Pine Street will need to follow this process.  No one can be admitted directly into the program without being referred by Tri-County OIC.

The ALC offers classes to selected students from 6 to 8:30 pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings to those students who have been referred by Tri-County OIC..  These days and/or hours of operation may expand if there is a demand for additional student places.

The ALC at Pine Street is equipped with a computer lab and instructional areas designed to accommodate students in settings and configurations that facilitate student-centered teaching and learning.  All textbooks, computer software and other necessary instructional materials are provided free of charge for the students’ use while at the ALC.

Arrangements have been made for free parking for students while they are attending their classes at the Pine Street Center.  For students using public transportation, there is also a CAT bus stop located at Third and South Streets, immediately in front of the church.  Unfortunately, the ALC at Pine Street is not able to provide childcare to participants.



Core Subjects

The Adult Learning Center at Pine Street offers instruction and tutoring in the core subject areas of Mathematics and Language Arts (including English Usage and Reading Comprehension) at the level needed by each student and in a variety of teaching formats, including:

  • one-on-one,
  • in pairs or very small groups
  • on occasion, all together and
  • in a more formal classroom setting

Computer Skills

Because the newly revised 2014 version of the GED program is computer-based, success on the exam requires both academic knowledge in the various subject areas and facility on the part of the student in answering questions on a computer screen by responding within a limited timeframe.  Therefore, the Adult Learning Center at Pine Street education program also includes a heavy emphasis on computer literacy through:

  • introductory instruction in computer skills using specially designed software for beginners,
  • use of a software program that focuses on the application of math and language skills in a variety of employment-related and daily life situations to help students “connect the dots” between learning and earning and
  • affording all students independent time with available assistance to practice using computers as part of their instruction package.

Additional Skills Development

In addition to a concentration on the core academic subjects and technical competency in using computers, the ALC program is intended to help these adult students develop the “soft skills” which are so important in achieving both educational and workplace success, including:

  • focusing on goal setting, learning, and strategic study skills,
  • listening to and understanding instructions,
  • organizing materials and time management and
  • developing situation-appropriate communications skills


Qualified volunteers from Pine Street Presbyterian Church and other community-minded institutions provide the instruction in their roles as “learning facilitators” or coaches.  Their emphasis is on supportive personal interactions and student-centered learning.  To achieve this, the volunteers work together in teams to review, select and prepare teaching materials in regularly held in-house workshops.

The instructional approach taken by the learning facilitators at the ALC at Pine Street centers on:

  • recognizing, valuing and using each student’s personal;
    • interests and talents,
    • life experiences,
    • specific learning goals and
    • demonstrated academic needs

as the basis for planning, teaching and expanding that student’s learning;

  • reviewing and refreshing information and skills already learned and relating those directly to new knowledge instruction;
  • starting at the student’s current level and moving forward at a comfortable but steady pace;
  • teaching not only the core subject knowledge but also:
    • critical thinking skills,
    • problem-solving skills and
    • dialogue and collaborative learning techniques;
  • preparing the student to integrate and transfer learning in the core subject areas to new situations;
  • monitoring each student’s progress on a session by session basis and consistently reviewing new information to reinforce learning and
  • developing the students’ understanding of how increased knowledge and improved skills  will have significant practical and positive impacts upon their own daily lives.

From time to time, guest speakers are invited to the ALC to present the students with valuable supplemental information on finding and participating in opportunities of possible interest to them in the local community.

Funding Sources

The Adult Learning Center at Pine Street is most grateful to a number of donors whose grants have made the establishment of this educational program a reality, including the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation; the Presbytery of Carlisle; TE Connectivity; and the Cremonesi Fund of Pine Street Presbyterian Church. Individual members and friends of Pine Street Presbyterian Church have also supported the ALC through monetary and/or other gifts.

In addition, several other local institutions or businesses have made significant financial contributions or in-kind donations of goods or services in support of the Center.  These include Canon USA; Central Penn Business College; Harrisburg Wall and Flooring; TE Connectivity; Valk Manufacturing Company, and Vartan Group, Inc.

The ALC at Pine Street deeply appreciates the guidance and advice given by the administration and teaching staff of Tri-County OIC whose adult education services are supported, in part, by the PA Department of Education, Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education.

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Service Times & Directions

Word and Sacrament

10:00 a.m.

Church School - All Ages

8:45 a.m.

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Pine Street Church

310 North Third Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 238-9304 (717) 232-9341 fax