Monday, January 26, 2009

32 Million Adults Still Won't Be Able to Read, Write, or Apply for Jobs

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ProLiteracy, the nation's leader in adult literacy programs and advocacy, today decried the exclusion of Title II of the Workforce Investment Act from the current economic stimulus package.

David C. Harvey, president of ProLiteracy, called on President Obama and Congress to include Title II of the Workforce Investment Act in the economic recovery proposal. "We applaud the efforts of our new president and Congress to craft a stimulus bill focused on creating new jobs," Harvey said. "But it is imperative that they focus on the very people who will have the most difficulty finding jobs -- low-literate workers. An effective recovery bill must provide adult literacy and employment training opportunities."

Harvey pointed out that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to be reviewed by House subcommittees this week, funds job training services for at-risk youth, individuals with disabilities, and older Americans through Titles I, III, and IV of the Workforce Investment Act.

"But inexplicably, Title II, which focuses on adult education and literacy, was left out of the bill," Harvey said. "Many of the nearly 3 million jobs lost during 2008 were held by individuals who need additional help with basic reading, math, or English skills in order to take advantage of the jobs that the Recovery Act will create."

A recent U.S. Department of Education report estimates that 32 million adults in the U.S. don't read well enough to fill out a job application without help. Title II, also known as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, is the largest source of federal funding for programs that teach adults reading, writing, math, technology skills, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

"The previous administration did not prioritize low-literate adults' needs, so the problems and numbers have only increased," said Harvey. "It is now a new administration and new Congress focused on the economy and job recovery. A basic foundation of a strong, employable workforce is a literate workforce. Now is the time for the federal government to take action to address the issue of adult illiteracy and include Title II funding," Harvey concluded.

Individuals who share ProLiteracy's position can send e-mails to President Obama and members of Congress through ProLiteracy's web site,

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