National Skills Coalition selects Ohio Workforce Coalition to Join State Policy Advocacy Network

The National Skills Coalition has selected the Ohio Workforce Coalition to join SkillSPAN, a nationwide network of non-partisan coalitions focused on advancing state policies that expand economic opportunities for workers and their families while boosting local businesses’ capacity. The Ohio Workforce Coalition joins the original 10 founding states and will receive a $25,000 grant to advance work throughout 2020.

The Ohio Workforce Coalition brings three major goals to SkillSPAN, including building the skills of adult workers, working to meet the skill needs of employers, and strengthening the entire workforce system. Through this partnership, the Coalition will be better suited to accomplish its goals and build educational and career pathways for all Ohioans.

As Director, Rebecca Kusner will lead this initiative and guide the Coalition’s members to advocate, educate, and innovate as we assure the availability of a job-ready workforce, increase effectiveness of programs serving Ohio’s employers, and improve Ohio’s workforce development programs. “Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been the leading voice for adult workforce issues in Ohio. I’m thrilled that we are able to join this network and take our work to the next level,” said Kusner. “With The National Skills Coalition’s support, we will build our platform, grow stakeholder engagement, and consider the long-term future of our Coalition.”

The Literacy Cooperative has been selected to serve as the interim fiscal agent for the Coalition. Laureen Atkins, vice president of Strategic Initiatives, is on the Leadership Committee of the Ohio Workforce Coalition and assists with the policy priorities, strategy, and activities. Other Leadership Committee members can be found on our website at

The Literacy Cooperative’s 2019 2Gen Summit

Energetic conversations filled the room Friday, May 24th, as The Literacy Cooperative hosted the 2nd Annual 2Gen Summit to support whole family literacy. The 2Gen approach to literacy aligns and coordinates services for children, parents, and caregivers because research continually shows that a parent’s education level dramatically affects the educational success of their children. This […]

Can-Do Guides to Literacy

Bob Paponetti and Laureen Atkins are members of The Open Door Collective’s (ODC) Labor & Workforce Development Issues Group. The group has issued a series of “Can-Do” Guides for various stakeholders (e.g., employers, labor unions, prisoner re-entry agencies, universities, and others).

Each guide explains why adult basic skills are important for the individuals with whom that stakeholder works (e.g., employees, union members, former inmates) and how that stakeholder can work with adult basic education providers to strengthen and expand basic skills development services in their community and state. Please read and share the guides.

ODC is dedicated to reshaping U.S. society to have dramatically less poverty and economic inequality and more civic engagement and participation in all our society has to offer. ODC members believe that adult basic skills education and lifelong learning programs can help open the doors of opportunity for everyone to healthier, more prosperous and satisfying lives. Visit to learn more.

Can-Do Guides to Literacy

What Re-Entry Services Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Former Inmates

What Labor Educators Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Our Workforce

What Universities Can Do to Strengthen U.S. Adult Basic Skills Efforts

What Forward-Thinking Employers Can Do to Strengthen the Basic Skills of Our Workforce

2018 Director’s Message / December Newsletter

As this year ends, it is always good to look back, make goals for the coming year, and feel energized for the work before us. Progress has been made and we appreciate all the efforts you have given to make Northeast Ohio a more literate community.

We are especially pleased for the support and encouragement we’ve received to advance a two generational (2Gen) service delivery strategy that considers the needs of the entire family. We convened a 2Gen Summit this past year that strategically gathered early childhood providers, adult literacy programs, and workforce agencies. This event featured two national speakers, panels of local experts, and a feedback session that discussed how we can align services, so the entire family’s needs can be addressed in an integrated manner. A 2Gen working group resulted from this summit. Look for a call to action that will be released soon.

The expansion of Imagination Library and Reach Out & Read this year has been exciting. Both are proven, universal interventions that connect to parents of babies and toddlers to support them in their role as their child’s first teacher. The first three years of a child’s life present a unique window of opportunity to positively impact brain development. The influence of Reach Out & Read physicians along with the monthly mailing of brand new books through Imagination Library will result in a child better prepared for school success.

The CLE-BEE, our annual corporate spelling bee fundraiser, was very fun night of competition for a good cause. We enjoyed bringing together professionals from different sectors to showcase their spelling skills while raising funds to continue our work in the community.  This year’s winner, Cleveland Public Library, was crowned the champion with the word “gallimaufry.” Try using it in a sentence!

Best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season. We look forward to the opportunities 2019 will bring for us to connect and collaborate.

Bob Paponetti

Click here for the December 2018 Newsletter.