Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Newton Co GA :: Norwalk CT ::  Des Moines IA

Literacy is an important attribute for the entire community
Covington News: 10.16.2016 by Sandra Brands

Literacy is one of the primary skills needed to graduate high school, earn a college degree or land a decent job, yet, according to Newton County Reads, 90 percent of area employers report they cannot find qualified employees, and 56 percent say it’s due to a lack of basic education.

Surprisingly, almost 20 percent of, or one in five, adults in Georgia have not graduated from high school. Though the number of Georgia adults 18 and older without a high school diploma has dropped — from 1.2 million to 1 million statewide — Piedmont Healthcare in its Community Health Needs Assessment said Newton County has a 49 percent illiteracy rate. Of that, 25 percent could not read above a fourth-grade level.

And, though high school graduation rates in Newton County are slightly higher than the state average, according to Laura Betram, Executive Director of the Newton County --=Community Partnership (NCCP), each year 250 students drop out.

“When you add those numbers over years, if you lost 250 students a year, you’re adding a lot of people to an unqualified workforce,” she said.

Looking at people who are unable to read, also translates into poverty. Action Ministries, a non-profit organization that has a branch here in Newton County, cites literacy and adult education as a way out of poverty.

“Action Ministries hopes to pilot two initial locations for adult basic education and GED Preparation classes …  READ MORE @

Opinion: Dismantling of library’s Literacy Volunteers is illogical
NancyOnNorwalk: 10.20.2016  by Bonnie Dubson, Norwalk Public Library-Literacy Volunteers, ESOL Coordinator

An open letter to Mayor Harry Rilling:
Dear Mayor Rilling,

I am writing to bring to your attention the likely demise of one of the Norwalk Public Library’s most beloved and needed resources for its immigrant population: Literacy Volunteers. Despite its size and dedicated following of volunteers, Literacy Volunteers is facing a funding crisis, and is being paralyzed by inaction on the part of library leadership.

With a cadre of more than 80 volunteers, Literacy Volunteers currently provides free English as a Second Language (ESL), basic literacy, and citizenship classes to adult learners from over 30 nations across the globe who now call Norwalk home. 

I have been an ESL volunteer tutor with Literacy Volunteers at the Norwalk Public Library for over five years, and have also had the great honor of coordinating the program.

During my two-year tenure as a manger of Literacy Volunteers, we have more than doubled our student enrollment to roughly 500 adult learners from 250 in October of 2014, and have had a 50-percent increase in volunteers. We have expanded our offerings to keep pace with the needs of our student population.

As you know, the library board voted earlier this year not to continue funding Literacy Volunteers. In response to this crisis, I have been asked by the library board and leadership to dismantle classes that are ongoing, and are being by provided free-of-charge and without any cost to the library. This course of action is illogical, as demand for classes continues to rise.

That being said, I wanted to bring to your attention some basic facts about the program:

Susan Wallerstein  (1 of 10 comments)
October 20, 2016 at 9:18 pm
I serve as Chair of the Library Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Literacy Volunteers. Contrary to the misinformation contained in this letter, the Library Board of Trustees has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to continuing the Literacy Volunteers program. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible. The Board’s ongoing efforts to ensure a financially stable, high quality program are evident in our public monthly meeting materials e.g., agendas, minutes, etc.  READ MORE @

Adult Literacy Center to celebrate 40 years of service
Drake University: 10.25.2016 – School of Education News Release

Drake University’s Adult Literacy Center will celebrate 40 years of service to the community this week with a celebration, during which they will announce a brand new literacy program.

Since its founding in 1976, the Adult Literacy Center has taught basic literacy skills to about 2,500 adults through the work of more than 2,100 volunteer mentors.

The center will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, in Parents Hall on the upper floor of Drake’s Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave.

The reception will double as the formal launch of a new Workplace Literacy program. The Adult Literacy Center will partner with local employers to provide on-site literacy training for employees who require additional English reading, writing, and speaking skills.

“We are honored to celebrate 40 years of service,” said Anne Murr, director of the Adult Literacy Center at Drake University. “Drake’s School of Education has been a wonderful partner for all these years, and we’ve been privileged to offer personalized instruction to so many students in central Iowa."

National data show about 1 in 6 people adults lack functional literacy in English. Demand for the Adult Literacy Center’s services continues to increase.

The center has served nearly 150 students this year, compared to 125 students last year, through its one-on-one volunteer mentor program. The new Workforce Literacy program has been tested with about 10 employees at a single employer; the program has additional capacity and is currently seeking additional employers with whom to collaborate.

“We are always seeking new ways to serve the community,” Murr said. “The need is there—and we welcome new ways to increase our outreach. We certainly don’t want to be Des Moines' best-kept secret."

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