Keep the Conversation Going

April 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On April 18, LCNV began a critical dialogue about bridging the gap between adult literacy and language education, and our region’s workforce needs. Everyone involved – from the emcee, moderator, and panelists to volunteers, and in-person and online participants — helped make Literacy Means Business a successful forum.

Highlights included:

  • Jeff Connor-Naylor, Northern Virginia Program Director for The Commonwealth Institute, affirmed the region’s need for workers with “middle skills” and a “long-term approach to training.”  (5:54)
  • Ray Uhalde, Senior Advisor at Jobs for the Future, asserted that in the region over half the jobs will require some post secondary education and training. He stated, “Employers [face a] talent pool that is smaller and shrinking. In Northern Virginia we could import more labor, but prefer to grow our own.” Echoing Connor-Naylor, Uhalde suggested that “Northern Virginia build [the] career pathway system so [one] can move from basic literacy up to more advance skills, and we can grow our own talent.”
  • Leslie Kronz, Training and Education Consultant at the Office of Health Equity, Inova Health System, called attention to the different ways Inova’s need for literacy and English language education affects both patients and staff. (22:47)
  • Laura Patching, Acting Chief, Office of Citizenship, US Citizenship & Immigration Services, noted: “Citizenship allows full equality under the law. There is no straight path to [civic] integration. Our candidates have to be able to gain the English language knowledge to be able to be successful in the naturalization process.” Advocating for standards and research on adult education, she added: “We find in the citizenship realm that people come into our classes with very low literacy levels. The assumption is that along the way they would have had access to quality adult education and ESL – but that’s not the case. If you cannot build a quality program, you will lose people.” (26:03 and 47:08)
  • Johan Uvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, also proposed that employers can help identify workers who they would like to progress and help those workers in the following ways: give them release time or situate onsite literacy programs; engage with service providers; and be sure their instruction is aligned with the needs of the workforce.(31:16, 53:27, and 1:11:43)
Literacy Means Business is just the start of a much longer conversation, which needs to continue. Stay connected with us in the following ways: 
  1. Click here to view the full 1.5 hour forum.
  2. Become a LCNV volunteer and attend our upcoming ESOL Tutor Training Workshop.
  3. Attend LCNV’s Annual Recognition Event on June 20. Hear from our students about the different ways literacy has impacted their lives.
  4. Like us on Facebook and share our posts.

Patricia M. Donnelly, Executive Director
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
www.lcnv.org

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