The Literacy Council of Reading-Berks honored two of the largest Berks County employers today, September 22, at its “Educate & Elevate” breakfast held in conjunction with the national Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The event was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in downtown Reading.
The Council presented its “Leader for Literacy” award to East Penn Manufacturing Company and Penn State Health St. Joseph. The “Leader for Literacy” award serves as evidence of local employers’ contribution in supporting the Literacy Council’s mission to help people better communicate and contribute to their families, workplaces, and community.
East Penn Manufacturing Company partners with the Literacy Council to design and implement a pilot recruitment program and a career development training program for current employees.
Penn State Health St. Joseph and the Council started an innovative on-site ESL program at the hospital tailored to the food and environmental services department. St. Joe’s and the Council also have had a longtime collaboration in delivering the Community Health Worker Training Institute and related programming at the Downtown Campus Langan Allied Health Academy.
In addition to presenting the awards, Sharon Bonney, CEO of COABE (Coalition on Adult Basic Education), shared what success looks like for Berks County employers as we navigate the post-COVID world. She also shared how partnerships among employers and agencies like the Literacy Council make sense to “Educate & Elevate” Berks County’s workforce.
Ms. Bonney is a twenty-year veteran in the field of adult education and has led efforts to raise the visibility of the value of adult education. This resulted in the internationally acclaimed, six-time award-winning national public awareness campaign, “Educate & Elevate.” Through her efforts, funding cuts were staved off and $60 million in new funding was added in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
“The Council is elated to recognize the work of our two longtime partners and thrilled to welcome Sharon to Berks County to share the work of ‘Educate & Elevate.’ Berks County has a rich diversity of talent, and when adult education and employers can partner to harvest that talent, it’s a win-win for our entire community,” said Ryan A. Breisch, Council Executive Director.