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Literacy News: Approaches From Around The U.S.

Tue, Feb 7th 2017 02:00 pm

We have told you about the City of Philadelphia's approach to adult literacy before. LNY has our eyes on their aggressive line of attack. It began when Philadelphia's Mayor revamped the Mayor's Commission on Literacy in 2011, decrying the city's "serious literacy crisis." Three years later, the commission became the nation's first provider to offer free, online, interactive courses for men and women with low literacy and math skills.

The Mayor was prompted to action because nearly half of all adults in the city -- more than half a million men and women -- lack the basic skills necessary to qualify for postsecondary training or hold jobs that permit them to support a family. Many function below eighth-grade levels.

Since the launch of myPLACE -- Philadelphia Literacy and Adult Career Education, a citywide system to advance adults' skills -- nearly 1,500 Philadelphians have completed classes in basic education, GED preparation, or English as a Second Language, and gotten help planning their educational and career paths.

The biggest plus of Philadelphia's system was that it coordinated the dozens of adult literacy and education providers from the region and created a centralized system of citywide hubs for adults with basic education needs. The system also incorporated existing technology to both maximize the number of people served and get adults more comfortable with the skills they need for a changing workforce.

Literacy New York is always eager to share the systems that work—and this is one of them. Providers are certainly busy enough, but maybe advocacy efforts could be put into citywide and/or countywide literacy initiatives. Definitely food for thought.

Excerpts from Governing Magazine


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