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Beyond survival: Unlocking potential

May 12, 2020 : Articles

How do you build a strategic plan during a global pandemic?  As this article suggests, with agility, innovation, observation and as Yoda would say, “No try. Do.”

 We began planning in one of the tightest labor markets in recent history; we’ll complete it with unemployment rates at Great Depression levels. We’ve refocused the problem from helping students be more relevant and ready for jobs in a growing economy, to helping scores of unemployed neighbors retrain and reskill to compete for available jobs while facing an uncertain future.

Although the landscape has changed, our core priority has not. We are dedicated to becoming an essential part of western Pennsylvania’s talent development pipeline. Our plan will focus on strategies for a Relevant, Ready and Sustainable future for the organization. While it will include clear performance targets, it will also build in flexibility for how we achieve these targets. 

Our greatest assets are our students, volunteers, board of directors, and staff. Our planning process included many opportunities for these stakeholders to share their dreams, creativity and feedback. While the format of these conversations changed these past few weeks, we didn’t let quarantine slow us down.

  • We’ve held virtual focus groups for students.
  • More than 100 tutors responded to an online survey and dozens participated in a virtual focus group.
  • Staff have participated in eight strategic planning discussions and have responded to targeted surveys. Teaching staff were specifically asked where they see opportunities for growth in career preparation support for students.
  • Finally, our board of directors has been engaged throughout. A core working group has met regularly. The full board, along with members of our young professionals board, participated in an in-person retreat to kick off planning earlier this year. Regular updates have followed.

While this is not the planning process or world we anticipated, we are excited to create a vision that truly meets the needs of our students, both today and in the years to come. We look forward to sharing details with you in the fall print edition of The Spark.

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.