Lincoln Literacy Council

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With an award from UBT, we will at last be able to open a state-of-the-art learning center in our planned Bridgeway to a Better Life: Lincoln's Skill-Building Center. This initiative will span the gap that lies between learning English and literacy skills, gaining occupational skills, landing a good job, and embarking on a career path.

The acquisition of a skill-building center is already in the works: we have an ARPA grant to back that and a site in view. What we need are funds for renovation and technological upgrade. Then, Lincoln Literacy and its many partners will be able to offer both in-person and online classes and tutorials enabling adults from all over the world and from right next door to cross the Bridgeway to a Better Life.

By opening Lincoln's Skill-Building Center, we will address one of the fundamental challenges facing our city: too many young families are in poverty, and too many businesses are starved of skilled workers and professionals. Lincoln has excellent colleges and universities, but too many adults are unable to succeed there because they lack sufficient basic skills, confidence, and understanding of the terminology of their chosen occupational goal. Together with our partners, we can change all that.

Last year, 39% of our students reported that they got a job with the help of our tutors, and over 70% of those were living-wage jobs such as CNA. They included people like Kler, a refugee from Burma, who went through our CNA Prep, then got a scholarship to Bryan College, and earned her CNA. She's now filling a crucial role at Bryan Health — and has become a U.S. citizen.

Mohammed arrived last fall as a refugee from Afghanistan. In the past, his low English level would have barred him from anything but a menial job. But Kawasaki needs assembly line workers and trusts Lincoln Literacy to teach newcomers the English they need to know for their jobs, so now Mohammed is making $18 an hour and learning English on the job in our classes at Kawasaki.

But of course we don't focus solely on English language learners. We helped Onyx turn her hidden skills into a job application for a Food Service position at Bryan Health, and to develop her entrepreneurial bent in designing and making clothes by referring her to the Echo Collective. We helped Dawn go from near-homeless to ready to get CDL-certified and road-ready to seek work as truck driver. We helped Ty continue his long quest to pass the GED.

Even though we served 807 adults, many others could use our help but are reluctant to come to Lincoln Literacy, due to the stigma associated with needing literacy assistance. In the larger setting offered by the Bridgeway to a Better Life, we're confident that such hesitation would disappear. The transformative power of skill-building will lift more families out of poverty, put a dent in the labor shortage, and help more people achieve their dreams.

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