How does adult education integrate with other systems across the City of Philadelphia? This was the focus of the Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance’s quarterly meeting on Thursday, December 17th, themed, “The Big Picture: Why Does Adult Education Matter?”
The in-depth discussion included local stakeholders who represent systems that serve populations often in need of adult education. These systems include: immigration, housing, workforce, human services, correction, and post-secondary education. The primary goal of the meeting was to identify how adult education aligns with these various systems and explore ways to better serve current and future learners.
Ulicia Lawrence, Program Coordinator of the WELL Program at Temple University and Member of the Alliance’s Advisory Board, delivered welcoming remarks and introduced Diane C. Inverso, Interim Executive Director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, who moderated the panel.
Each panelist gave a brief background of their organization and how adult education is featured in their work. They also presented some of the successes and challenges they have experienced connecting with other systems.
“A huge challenge is better integrating Title I and Title II funding and connecting the workforce system with adult literacy,” said Cheryl Feldman, Executive Director, District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund.
Title I helps jobseekers with career counseling, job search assistance, and job training.
Title II, under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), provides supplemental funds for Adult Basic Education (ABE), high school subjects, English as a Second Language (ESL), citizenship, and English Literacy and Civics Education (EL Civics), thereby enabling adults to become employable, productive, and responsible citizens, workers, and family members.
“It is in our best interest to better support adult education initiatives. We deal with individuals with low-literacy and criminal backgrounds,” said Philadelphia Prison Systems’ Deputy Commissioner, Blanche Carney.
She went on to mention that education, credentials, and experience are all necessary requirements for partnerships with workforce organizations and agencies.
“It’s one thing to teach learners what they need to get a job. We also need to arm them with the skills to maintain the job,” Carney added.
Following the panel discussion, attendees participated in interactive group discussions where each panelist shared how adult education stakeholders can access their resources.
Jason Alemán, Vice President, Program Services with Philadelphia Youth Network, pointed out that there needs to be a focus on developing both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
Diane closed the meeting by thanking all panelists and guests, as well reminding them to share their responses on what they would like Mayor Jim Kenney and his administration to know about why adult education matters to Philadelphia.
View photos from #LiteracyAlliancePHL here.