Supporting and Growing Program Models
We help build the capacity and quality of programs that every day teach adults to read, write, compute, use technology, and learn English as a new language. Local adult literacy and basic education programs need access to best practices for program design and instructional methods and to the technical assistance grants that will enable them to build their capacity, design innovative programs, support anti-stigma programs and campaigns for adult learners, and address other needs.
In 2012, ProLiteracy teamed up with the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region and Center Against Family Violence (CAFV) in El Paso, Texas, to create a more robust literacy network in a city and county among those with the lowest literacy levels in Texas. The collaboration is part of a project supported by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
The YWCA Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center (TLC) set up the Adult Education Academy, a GED-oriented program for low income and homeless students. The Center Against Family Violence (CAFV) created the Education Development Program (EDP) and added a GED preparation program, access to computer literacy instruction, and an English-language book club. Between January and May, CAFV served approximately 130 students. Expanding Access continues, reaching new students in El Paso, and with a new location in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In our own local community, ProLiteracy offers direct service to adult learners by partnering with a member program, the Northside Learning Center, to teach low-income adults and youth computing and Internet skills in an effort to overcome the harmful effects of the digital divide. This project, part of our digital literacy initiative and run with support from the John Ben Snow Foundation out of the Colvin Center, provides free access to the Internet in a comfortable, familiar setting where students can gain digital literacy skills to achieve their work, education, and life goals. The project also provides basic computer instruction for the students such as learning to navigate a desktop, and using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
Library Literacy Action Agenda
In 2012, ProLiteracy, the Onondaga County Public Library, and the American Library Association launched the Library Literacy Action Agenda, which will help literacy providers, librarians, and library workers develop and advocate for accessible and innovative adult literacy services and resources.
The National Library Literacy Action Agenda is for literacy program directors, public library directors, representatives from state libraries, and literacy and outreach librarians. The project is made possible by a one-year national leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Northside Up Entrepreneurs Project
For the first time, we’ve taken our methods of teaching literacy internationally and applied them domestically. With our Syracuse-based nonprofit partner Northside UP, we launched a workforce-training project to prepare low-income immigrants to develop and operate small business enterprises by pairing literacy and English language instruction with entrepreneurial interests.
At the end of the 9-month training project, the participants plan to establish or grow their small business enterprises or find jobs that fit their new skills. We hope to roll this model out to other communities across the United States, impacting both literacy and economic development. This project is possible through support from the Pitney Bowes Foundation.