Jesse White Awards More Than $5.7 Million in Adult Literacy Grants

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded more than $5.7 million in FY15 Adult Literacy Grants to help students develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and language skills.

“I am pleased to provide over 100 local literacy providers with funding that will allow adult students to achieve their utmost potential,” White said.  “I will continue to do all I can to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”

Nearly 22,000 students are served by adult literacy programs across the state.  More than 8,500 volunteer tutors provide training for students to obtain skills that put them on the path to lifelong learning.  Adult literacy projects help Illinois adults, who read below the ninth grade level or speak English at a beginner level, to improve their reading, writing, math and English language skills.

The Adult Literacy Program is administered by the Secretary of State’s Illinois State Library Literacy Office and awards grants in three categories:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy Grants provide training for volunteers who tutor adults over age 16 in basic reading, math, writing or language skills.  Participating literacy providers may include libraries, volunteer tutoring organizations, community-based organizations, community colleges, regional offices of education, schools (individual and public), pre-school programs, school districts, domestic-violence shelters and correctional facilities.
  • Penny Severns Family Literacy Grants provide educational services to parents and children to enhance basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Programs must partner with an adult literacy provider, child-at-risk agency and a library.
  • The Workplace Skills Enhancement Project provides onsite instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, math, writing or language skills and improve their chances for promotion. Eligible employees must read at or below the 9th grade level. Grantees must match the grant award and may also provide instructional services to prospective employees. The fiscal agent and submitting agency may be either the educational partner or the business partner.

People interested in becoming volunteer tutors are encouraged to contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 1-800-321-9511.