DALA was born because of the passionate conviction of one person, Jerri Costa, who believed that economic renewal for Digby and its surrounding area could only come if people could obtain increased levels of education and additional preparation for employment. Through hard work and determination, Jerri attracted a large group of like-minded people who, at first, formed a loosely knit coalition to address the challenges facing Digby County.
Originally established as the Digby District Learning Network in 1991, the organization, represented by Literacy Coordinator, Helen Mildon, proposed an Adult Learning Centre to facilitate and oversee a variety of services, in partnership with other organizations and agencies. The centre would provide services in education, counseling, upgrading, on-the-job training, life skills, and technical training in the curriculum. With the attention, collaboration and partnerships of The Southwest Regional School Board, Nova Scotia Department of Education, Human Resources Development Canada and the Nova Scotia Community College, DALA grew in sophistication and experience; became incorporated on November 24, 1998, and hired an Executive Director who assumed responsibility for administering the Digby Community Education Centre and the Career Resource Centre (1999).
Since then, DALA has grown and has provided many pilot programs and services in Digby, through projects such as the Southwest Nova Practice Firm, the Get Dressed program, Job Coaching, Bridging the Gap Program and the Older Worker Client Navigator program. In December of 2003 DALA began operating the Learning Grove Childcare Centre in response to the community need for full-time, year round childcare in the area.