ProLiteracy Member Statistical Report Reveals Increased Demand, Decreased Funding
Adult literacy and basic education programs throughout the U.S. continue to face increased demand for services and decreased funding, according to a report by ProLiteracy, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to adult literacy and basic education.
ProLiteracy’s new Statistical Report of its member organizations shows a five percent increase in the number of adult learners enrolled in community-based adult literacy programs over the last two years (286,413 versus 273,300). During the same time period, funding for programs offering these services decreased by $6 million. The number of member organizations reporting waiting lists continues to climb—reaching 76 percent in 2009-10, up from 71 percent in 2008-09.
The new statistical report also illustrates how adult literacy and basic education programs have been affected by the national recession and unemployment rate. In 2008-09, 35 percent of adult learners seeking services were unemployed. That number climbed to 40 percent in 2009-10.
“This clearly shows that many American adults are in need of the basic reading, writing, math, and computer skills that are critical for entering or re-entering the 21st century workforce,” said David C. Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy.
Member programs also report on average only 2.8 paid management/administrative positions, leaving more programs to operate using volunteers. Volunteers deliver English-as-a-second-language, basic English, GED, basic math, health and safety, and financial literacy tutoring. More than one-half of the programs responding to ProLiteracy’s survey said they rely solely on unpaid volunteers for instruction.
“We are proud that so many Americans volunteer at ProLiteracy programs, demonstrating their great commitment and engagement with this important issue,” said Harvey. “Use of volunteers is also a reflection of the economy’s impact on our programs and emphasizes the importance of local, state, and federal funding to support volunteer programs.”
“We recognize that our members are continually being asked to do more with less,” Harvey continued. “We encourage members to use the information from this report when talking with elected officials about funding for their programs. ProLiteracy will use this information in our advocacy and public policy efforts at the state and national levels. We thank our members for compiling and sending this important data each year, and we are proud to represent the vital work these programs do.”
In addition to advocacy, ProLiteracy encourages members to use this Statistical Report data to:
- identify trends that may affect their work
- compare their organization’s statistics to national averages
- conduct their own public relations and fundraising efforts
Questions about the report can be directed to Michele Diecuch, information and referral manager, at (315) 422-9121 ext. 321.