Low literacy is costly to individuals, employers, and societies. The COVID-19 crisis introduced many to the level of disruptions that are experienced by low-literate families daily. According to Anne Mosle, Executive Director – Ascend at the Aspen Institute, half of the hourly workers in the U.S. do not get enough notice to adequately coordinate school, childcare and taking care of a loved one. She eloquently states, “Uncertainty is the damaging byproduct of poverty.” It is also the byproduct of low literacy! It means higher hurdles and lower wealth for this generation of Cuyahoga County residents and generations to come, unless we sponsor and support powerful interventions to halt what has become an intergenerational problem in far too many places in this county. A highly literate population, on the other hand, will contribute to the economic growth of Cuyahoga County and regional prosperity by placing more parents and caregivers within reach of family-sustaining jobs. Perhaps, most importantly, such a population will help energize Cuyahoga County’s most important asset, human capital.
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 www.ohioworkforcecoalition.org.