One of the nation’s premier federal volunteerism programs, AmeriCorps, has ended funding in FY2012 for Literacy*AmeriCorps, a program that supports volunteer tutors in seven cities throughout the nation. Literacy*AmeriCorps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, has reached approximately 6,000 adult learners annually for the past 18 years. These learners need basic reading, writing, math and English language instruction.
“Elimination of Literacy*AmeriCorps is devastating to the adult literacy field,” says David C. Harvey, ProLiteracy president and CEO. “ProLiteracy member programs all across the nation are suffering from funding cutbacks at the state and federal level as well as the private sector. The elimination of Literacy*AmeriCorps is one more piece of bad news.”
“Our nation’s leaders need to understand that adult literacy programs are key to having a skilled workforce and a strong economy, and that we need every resource possible—including trained literacy volunteers. More than thirty million adults in America read below a fifth grade reading level, and the economic toll is enormous," adds Harvey.
Literacy*AmeriCorps was started in 1994 and has supported programs in Pittsburgh; Dayton; Washington, D.C.; New Orleans; Seattle; Austin; and Los Angeles. Literacy*AmeriCorps volunteers provided a total of approximately 244,800 hours of literacy tutoring annually. Over the program’s history, more than 100,000 adult learners have been served.
"ProLiteracy will advocate to restore funding for adult literacy programs in the Corporation for National and Community Service in FY2013. We will also fight for the needs of adult learners and the adult literacy and basic education programs that serve them in other areas of federal public policy," says Amy Schmitz, director of communications.