|Jeff Landis||617.728.4446 x146
Connecting Literacy and Work
New Program will Help Advance Low-Skilled Adults in Their Careers
Boston (November 3, 2009) — Roughly 90 million American adults lack the literacy skills necessary to secure educational and career opportunities that lead to jobs that pay family‐sustaining wages.(1) With funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Jobs for the Future (JFF) is launching Connecting Literacy and Work, a program designed to help low‐skilled workers through community‐based adult literacy and workforce initiatives.
“For low‐skilled adults and the nation as a whole, the large and growing gap in literacy among the working‐age population immediately threatens our ability to compete in the global economy,” said Marlene B. Seltzer, president and CEO of JFF. “Connecting Literacy and Work aims to bridge that gap so that adult learners in need of a better wage and employers in need of higher‐skilled workers can find one another more easily.”
Denine Torr, Dollar General director of community initiatives, said, “We believe that every individual, regardless of age, deserves equal access and opportunity to learn to read and advance their education, opening doorways for personal, professional, and economic growth. That is why our commitment to literacy remains strong and why we’re excited to help JFF launch this program.”
Connecting Literacy with Work will draw support from JFF’s existing partnerships in the following initiatives, including:
- Breaking Through: helping low‐skilled adults get into and through a postsecondary degree or credential programs
- Jobs to Careers: advancing frontline workers’ careers through work‐based learning
- The National Fund for Workforce Solutions: forging regional partnerships that benefit employers, their employees, and their communities
Building upon these three initiatives, Connecting Literacy and Work adds the following new components:
Connecting Adult Literacy to Employment
Across the National Fund, Jobs to Careers, and Breaking Through networks, there are now a number of sites with mature partnerships that feature adult literacy as a core component of program design. JFF is documenting a set of lessons and practices that could significantly grow the knowledge base on adult literacy/workforce development and build momentum for their expansion.
Building the Capacity of Literacy Networks to Partner with Sector-Based Workforce Development Initiatives
JFF is creating and piloting a set of tools and training workshops that build the capacity of adult literacy providers to partner with employers and training providers in key industry sectors. JFF is working in two communities that have strong adult literacy networks interested in connecting with local National Fund partners:
- The Literacy Coalition of Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee region, WI); and
- The Workforce Solutions Collaborative (Philadelphia, PA).
Technical Assistance and Documentation
Outcomes for low‐literacy adults in JFF’s national initiatives can be improved through targeted technical assistance to adult education agencies that either are connected or could be connected to strong workforce partnerships. The technical assistance sites are:
- Durham Technical Community College (Durham, NC), a Breaking Through local partner;
- Metropolitan Community College (Omaha, NE); a National Fund partner; and
- Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce and Hinds Community College (Jackson, MS), a Jobs to Careers local partner.
About Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future identifies, develops, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In over 200 communities in 41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family‐sustaining careers. www.jff.org
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with more than 8,600 neighborhood stores. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $38.4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 2.1 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.
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(1) Statistic from “Reach Higher, America: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce,” The National Commission on Adult Literacy, 2008.