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Grant takes aim at adult education, literacy programs

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Iowa Department of Education’s Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation is exploring the possibility of creating a network of certified tutors to work one-on-one with adults who are unable to proficiently read, write and speak.

Thanks to an AmeriCorps Planning Grant, the Department will look into the development and implementation of an adult tutoring program to address Iowa’s literacy needs.

The ability to proficiently read, write, and speak at a high school level is a foundational step toward achieving self-sufficiency and financial stability. Technological change and globalization are changing the state’s economy and the jobs being created today require higher skill levels than in the past. Providing services and support to the nearly 146,000 working-age Iowans without a high school degree or equivalent is necessary to close the skills gap so that more Iowans have quality career opportunities and employers have the skilled workforce they need.
Starting in September, the Department, in partnership with the Iowa Literacy Council, a non-profit first created in 1984, will collaborate to develop strategies targeting those with the greatest barriers to employment through greater visibility of Iowa’s literacy programs, increased volunteerism and additional technical support for programs and volunteers.

Specifically, the grant will foster collaboration with local providers to explore the feasibility of hosting AmeriCorps members to serve as certified tutors and mentors for Iowa adults most in need of basic skill instruction. The additional supports will enable more Iowans to begin, persist and succeed in the state’s adult education and literacy programs and contribute towards the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce having education and training beyond high school by 2025.

Based on the outcome of the collaborative efforts funded by the $57,000 planning grant, the Department will have the opportunity to apply for a larger project grant to fund the implementation of the plan, begin to certify tutors and increase the number of volunteers to raise the literacy level of adults across the state of Iowa.

More information about AmeriCorps state and national grants is available on Corporation for National and Community Service website. For additional information or questions about the Department’s grant award and proposal, please contact Marcela Hermosillo, education consultant, at

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 20, 2018 at 4:37am.