The Next Level Learning program is breaking the barrier of traditional learning for Philadelphia residents.
The program provides services to help residents ages 16 and over build the skills they need to reach their goals. Subjects taught include reading, writing, math, English as a Second Language, GED and HiSET prep, basic computer skills and career readiness workshops.
According to a recent Literacy Report, an estimated 70% of Philadelphians ages 16 to 74 score at Level 2 or below on the PIAAC literacy scale, and 78% score at Level 2 or below on the numeracy scale.
Approximately 7 out of 10 adults in Philadelphia are likely to struggle with complex literacy or numeracy tasks.
“Next level learning is about responding to residents’ needs in terms of education,” said Christine Piven, Executive Director of Adult Education in the Office of Children and Families.
The Next Level Learning campaign—which is funded from “Title II” state funding and money provided by the City of Philadelphia—began last spring. The program works in collaboration with Philadelphia Works and PA Career Links Philadelphia.
PA Career Links has provided a hotline number that offers career path services over the phone, allowing Philadelphians to discuss options with advisors and find the classes that best fit their needs.
“This hotline is very important, as it allows residents a one stop for both adult education needs and questions, along with adult workforce needs and questions. The staff on the hotline will walk residents through their options,” said Piven.
Organizations such as Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Beyond Literacy, New World Association and Philadelphia FIGHT are some of the entities that are involved with the Next Level program.
Class sizes vary depending on educators, the subject being taught and the numbers of students interested, but overall the classes are intimate and have a focus on individual growth.
Currently, the Next Level Learning program is building a new volunteer tutor training system with Temple University that is expected to launch this fall. Organizers are looking to attract residents who want to tutor Philadelphia adults in math, reading, English language learning and digital skills. Next Level will provide the training and will match the tutor to their area of expertise — all one has to do is express interest.
For information, call the PA Career Links hotline at 1-833-750-5627 or visit phila.gov/programs/adult-education.