Adult educators, community leaders, elected officials and adult learners joined Mayor Michael A. Nutter and The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy at the grand opening celebration of three new myPLACE℠ campuses on Thursday, February 20, 2014.
myPLACE℠, which stands for Philadelphia Literacy and Adult Career Education, is the city’s new one-stop for adult education and career preparation. myPLACE℠ campuses meet the needs of Philadelphia’s job seekers by providing convenient access to basic literacy, English as a Second language, GED® preparation services, digital skills, and work-readiness training.
Each campus is established at a high-performing literacy agency: myPLACE℠ @ Community Learning Center, 229 North 63rd Street; myPLACE℠ @ Congreso de Latinos Unidos, 2800 North American Street; and myPLACE℠ @ District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, 100 South Broad Street.
myPLACE℠ marks the start of a new approach to adult education in the City of Philadelphia. Along with fifteen partners, The Commission has created the city’s first formal adult education system for high quality and efficient learner intake, standardized assessment, and enrollment.
“If we want a safer city, we need a more literate population. If we want to lower crime, unemployment, and poverty; if we want more jobs in the City of Philadelphia, then we have to drive the message to go to a myPLACE℠ campus, go to one of our KEYSPOTs, stay in school, and go back to school,” Nutter said.
myPLACE℠ campuses serve adults seeking to improve literacy and job skills by providing intake, standardized assessments, case management, digital skills training, career counselling, and enrollment into face-to-face and online adult education classes. All adult learners who return to education via the myPLACE℠ campuses will be immediately enrolled in an online course with no waiting list called The Introduction to Adult Learning and Careers.
In addition to myPLACE℠ campuses, The Commission offers myPLACE℠ Online, the nation’s first online, cohort-based basic education courses for low-literate adults. Six-week courses will run year-round, with as many sections as needed to enroll all eligible learners, making adult education accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device. These workforce-contextualized and accelerated courses will prepare learners who test at intermediate levels (4th – 8th grade reading, writing, and math). The courses will help transition learners to the adult secondary level and best position them to study for the GED® and prepare for a job.
Christopher Coro, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Adult Education and Literacy for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, lauded myPLACE℠ and myPLACE℠ Online as “innovative and forward-thinking.”
“This effort represents everything that we would like to see happening across the country,” Coro said. His department is currently developing a “national call to action plan” to upskill the American workforce. According to Coro, 36 million adults in the U.S. need basic skills enhancement, yet the current federal system serves only 2 million adults per annum. “Real solutions lie in joint efforts across the systems from federal, state, regional, and community, and particularly in initiatives like we’re here to celebrate today. We can’t wait to learn from the work that The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy is doing in Philadelphia,” Coro added.
The program is designed to be replicable on a national level to help local governments combat the crisis of low literacy among adults. Philadelphia is an ideal proving ground to see how scalable myPLACE℠ can be. With a 27 percent poverty rate, nearly twice the national average, half of Philadelphia’s adult population lacks the education needed for family-sustaining employment.
“This initiative will play a key role in helping our city lead the nation in using technology to achieve greater adult workforce development,” said Mayor Nutter. “We know that these efforts will contribute to a better-educated workforce and stronger local economy, and will support our vision to make Philadelphia one of the more literate cities in the country.”
To enroll in a class, adults can visit any of the myPLACE℠ campuses or call the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy at (215) 686-5250.