The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, the area’s largest provider of literacy services for more than 4,500 people annually, announced today that it has changed its name to Literacy Pittsburgh. The organization said that the change is accompanied by an increased breadth of services and ambitious plans for future growth through more partnerships and collaboration across the region.
“While our core mission remains the same – to create better lives through learning with inclusive, welcoming literacy services for students – the change to Literacy Pittsburgh marks a milestone in our 36-year history. Our new name and brand represent a broadened scope; we have also become a workforce training and development organization,” said Don Block, executive director, Literacy Pittsburgh.
The new name was announced at an event at Literacy Pittsburgh’s downtown headquarters, which also included the unveiling of a new logo and website. About 100 of the group’s volunteers donned new Literacy Pittsburgh tee-shirts and handed out bookmarks throughout the city to help make the announcement.
In the Pittsburgh area alone, nearly 15 percent of all adults urgently need literacy services, according to Literacy Pittsburgh. Demand for these services increases each year, and Literacy Pittsburgh faces an ever-growing waiting list of people seeking help. This assistance also provides meaningful economic impact. Studies show that the financial return to our economy is at least 2.5 times the amount invested in literacy programs and services.
“Through collaboration with more than 200 partners in the Greater Pittsburgh region, we are helping more students move from learning to earning, with support and placement for career opportunities. The work of our 40 staff members and 650+ volunteers is transforming lives. Literacy Pittsburgh is making a difference to individuals, their children, the workforce and Pittsburgh – and helping to bring greater prosperity for all,” said Block.
Present Breadth of Services
Block noted that the name and logo change would also promote greater awareness of the comprehensive range of services that Literacy Pittsburgh offers, while helping to dispel the myth that literacy only encompasses reading skills. Currently, Literacy Pittsburgh offers the following programs:
- Adult basic education
- High school equivalency exam preparation
- English as a Second Language
- Immigrant Services & Connections
- Workplace Literacy (serving employers and employees)
- Career Transitions
- Family Literacy
- OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring
- Compass AmeriCorps
As the organization moves forward with its new name and brand, plans include more work with similar and complementary groups and regional employers. Literacy Pittsburgh has initiated several new programs that demonstrate its growth, including a new office in the South Hills to serve Route 51 corridor communities. This summer it will expand into Beaver Country because a program that has operated there for many years has selected Literacy Pittsburgh to continue those services. New services in Hazelwood include classes, tutoring and a partnership with Community Kitchen’s culinary training program for trainee math classes.
Looking ahead, Literacy Pittsburgh will become even more involved with employers to find employment for students. Also, partnerships with several other nonprofits are in the planning stages, which could allow it to serve 600-700 additional students in the coming year, a growth of nearly 20 percent in just one year.
“One Big Table” - A New Signature Event
Literacy Pittsburgh also announced that on May 21, it will launch “One Big Table,” an international food tasting and entertainment showcase event to benefit its students and programs. The new event illustrates the organization’s vision of a more inclusive and productive community driven by access to education. Tickets include access to samplings from ethnic restaurants as well as entertainment and interactive activities with a global flair. More information is available at www.literacypittsburgh.org.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 5,100 individuals acquire reading, writing, math, English language, computer and workforce skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, English as a second language, basic skills, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction, along with referrals to other family support organizations. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.