PHILADELPHIA – At a press conference on September 8th, the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, Mayor Jim Kenney announced and signed an executive order to expand and rename the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy (the Commission) to the Office of Adult Education (OAE). The Mayor was joined by Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis and OAE Executive Director Diane C. Inverso.
The new changes within the executive order and new name are designed to be more inclusive and representative of the OAE mission and vision moving forward. Signing of the order begins a round of other changes for OAE, including the Mayor’s appointment of a new Board of commissioners as well as a first phase rollout of the rebrand.
Since 1983 the Commission, now named the OAE, has worked to ensure that all Philadelphians have access to a high quality adult education system to support personal and career advancement and increased opportunities for adults in the City.
“When the Commission was established, one of the primary challenges facing adults entering the workforce was the inability to read,” said Inverso. “Today literacy means more than reading and writing. Literacy means numeracy, digital proficiency, problem solving and critical thinking, workforce and workplace readiness, and credential attainment. The new executive order acknowledges the expansion of our work to address many of these challenges for the City’s adults.”
“We are very excited to have the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy partner with the newly renamed OAE to observe the signing of the executive order on International Literacy Day,” said Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee. “Poet Laureate Yolanda Wishers’ poem highlighted the value of reading, writing and literacy not just to the City’s children, but to its families—a message shared and championed by the OAE and the Poet Laureate position.”
“The new executive order elevates the importance of the OAE’s work in this administration, giving it the reach and breadth it deserves,” said DiBerardinis as he welcomed the OAE to the Managing Director’s Office. DiBerardinis also explained that the OAE will be advised by the Commission on Adult Education, a new board of commissioners to be appointed by the Mayor.
Kenney delivered closing remarks to the room of City officials and Philadelphia adult education providers.
“Since 1983 the Board and staff of the Commission have helped tens of thousands of adults learn to read, complete secondary education, enter postsecondary education, learn English as a Second Language, as well as improve digital literacy skills,” Kenney stated. “Today marks a new exciting chapter for the Commission. Its new name for the Board, the Commission on Adult Education, and the newly expanded Office of Adult Education better represent the mission of these bodies to serve adults seeking education in order to participate in the workforce and contribute to our economy.”