Literacy Works (Chicago) awarded Innovation Grant from the National Literacy Directory

Literacy Works (Chicago)

Literacy Works was recently selected to receive a National Literacy Directory Innovation Grant Award for its successful and innovative approach to supporting programs struggling to provide services after budget cuts. To find out more about the Directory’s bi-monthly grant opportunities, subscribe to NCFL’s monthly e-newsletter. Literacy and education programs listed in the Directory are eligible. To join the Directory, start by creating your account here.

Funding challenges, and all of the struggles that accompany them, are persistent and critical problems nationwide for adult learning and literacy programs—and the potential students working to improve their skills and lives through education.

LiteracyWorksLiteracy Works, a Chicago nonprofit established in 1995, embodies the collaboration required to meet these enduring challenges. With roots in four community-based agencies banding together in 1995, Literacy Works has grown to support a network of more than 50 adult literacy and parent education programs across the city.

Today Literacy Works is rising to meet the needs of learners across the Chicago area despite a potentially crippling state budget impasse that affects adult education programs. Some programs have closed and others have had to drastically cut services. To reach the students most affected by the shortage of services, Literacy Works has partnered with the Chicago Public Library to offer an Adult Learning in the Library (ALL) program at two branches twice a week. During ALL, Literacy Works provides a site coordinator and trained volunteers to conduct English conversation groups, reading and writing groups, and math activities.

“Creative collaboration is a vital strategy across education efforts. Literacy Works is a great example of an organization working to pull a community’s adult learning resources together to meet the needs of students who need these services—and, together, overcoming daunting budget challenges,” said Lisa Avetisian, director of the National Literacy Directory.

In addition to operating a hotline for students seeking to find a nearby program that fits their learning needs and goals, Literacy Works also actively recruits volunteers through social and traditional means to place them at short-staffed organizations. Their main goal is to relieve some of the burden for programs operating with skeletal budgets.

Literacy Works trains volunteer tutors and professional instructors at community-based adult learning programs throughout Chicago. More than 700 practitioners at nearly 50 organizations are trained annually to offer high-quality instruction in Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language.