What is an Adult Literacy System?
If I arrived at your house to install your plumbing system, you would know that I was there to lay pipe so that water could flow to and from the sinks, toilets, and other fixtures throughout your home. But what would it mean to build an adult literacy system in your region, city, or town?
The “fixtures,” (in this analogy), or the components of an adult literacy system might be easily envisioned – classes for those who need to complete their high school diploma, brush up basic skills, or learn to speak better English; job exploration and training for those ready to enter the workforce; higher education for those who are motivated to earn more, and the multitude of community-based services that support adults and their families on their journey to financial stability – but how can we connect those currently “siloed” elements into a coordinated adult literacy system?
The conduit that connects those elements in an adult literacy system are the collaborative relationships among providers, the public policies that allow for flexibility & innovation, the technological tools that allow us to share resources and data, and the intentional engagement in creating pathways that lead to sustainable-wage jobs.
Why do we need a more coordinated system?
Connecticut is facing a “demographic tsunami,” with baby boomers aging out of the workforce at a rate of almost 7% faster than new workers are entering it, and a skills gap that is leaving thousands of jobs unfilled, CT needs more adults to get the education and training they need to enter the workforce. Improved coordination and connectivity among the myriad of providers that touch the lives of adults who need education and training will accelerate progress toward full literacy and full employment. MoveUp believes that a coordinated system in the Capital Region of Connecticut would:
- eliminate duplication of services
- integrate basic skills education with the job skills needed by local employers and therefore connect participants to jobs upon completion
- allow us to work collectively to help individuals find the right program the first time, therefore improving retention and completion rates
- have a “stackable” credentials, that are intentional steps toward sustainable wage employment
- track data and share accountability for outcomes among multiple providers.
How is MoveUp building a stronger system?
MoveUp is building a stronger system by providing leadership, coordination, and support to adult education and workforce training efforts throughout our Region. As a convener, facilitator, and innovator, MoveUp helps stakeholders across the region use resources more efficiently and effectively in an effort to provide pathways for people and pipelines for employers. MoveUp’s current work includes:
- Developing critical communications to promote awareness about adult literacy and understanding of its economic impact.
- Hosting workshops and training opportunities that help providers integrate innovative best practices into their daily work.
- Networking & building collaborative relationships that bring together professionals and participants in workforce development, adult education, higher education, and human services, to provide an integrated pathways system.
- Advocating for systemic and policy changes that eliminate barriers to participation in work, education, and/or training.
- Finding innovative solutions for sharing data, strengthening partnerships, and removing barriers to participation.