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What’s Going On: Why We Care About Adult Literacy

10 November 2014

Sallie Glickman, Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, talked about the economic, cultural and social impact of adult low literacy during “What’s Going On: Why We Care about Adult Literacy”, an interview with Commission member and Vice Chair Loraine Ballard Morrill.

Sallie Glickman, a civic entrepreneur, has dedicated her career to building and nurturing collaborative structures focused on major social issues. She has a passion for efforts that unite the expansion of opportunity for individuals with the economic growth objectives of companies, regions, and countries.

Loraine Ballard Morrill is News & Community Affairs Director for iHeartMEDIA’s six Philadelphia stations. While News and Public Affairs Director at Power 99 FM (WUSL-FM) Loraine created numerous award-winning Community Service Campaigns.

During the interview, Sallie explains that many people have misconceptions about how literacy is defined. In the last several decades, an increase in technology and changes in the economy now requires adults to excel beyond the basics of reading and writing to secure employment. Without digital literacy and access, a great gulf separates job seekers from searching and applying for jobs. There are over 36 million adults in the United States with literacy levels not sufficient enough to qualify them for family-sustaining jobs.

Low education levels translate into poverty not just for adults and their families, but for the entire regional economy. High poverty and unemployment rates impact neighborhoods, businesses, and families.

“What we need to think about is what we can do, what our responsibility is. One of the great things about the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and one of the reasons why I’m so committed to it, is The Commission is really putting some feet on the ground in the community to offer different options and opportunities for people with low literacy to push up their skill levels,” states Loraine.

Over the last year, the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy created myPLACE™ Campuses and myPLACE™ Online. These one-stop education centers and online courses have served over 3,000 adults in just a few months, but the demand is high and funding is shrinking. The Commission would like to open additional myPLACE™ Campuses to serve the city’s far-flung residents, and tutors and mentors are needed to help keep learners on track. Those who wish to help can donate, volunteer, or become an advocate.

“We really need to be able to do and use our voices in a way that not only talks about this issue, but makes it safe for learners who may have some embarrassment about not having the opportunity to develop these skills or haven’t yet. You can become a member of the Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance, tutor a learner, or encourage friends, relatives and colleagues to move them on a path to a better future,” notes Sallie Glickman.

The interview aired on WDAS FM, Power 99, Smooth Jazz 1480, What’s Going On Q102, Radio 104.5 and Mix 106.1. To listen to the full interview click here.

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