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Milwaukee Achiever Adult Literacy Services / Community Stories Summer 2012

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Nearly one fifth of adults in the City of Milwaukee are considered "functionally illiterate."  That’s according to Milwaukee Achiever Adult Literacy services.

Tracy Loken-Weber is the executive director at Milwaukee Achiever, and she says it’s a staggering figure.

“That’s 157,000 people just in the City of Milwaukee who cannot read,” she said.  “That means they cannot read a bus map.  They cannot balance a checkbook. They're unable to read prescription medication labels.”
To combat the issue, Adult Literacy offers classes teaching basic reading skills.  Since 1983, the center has helped 20,000 people learn to read, Loken-Weber says.
Beyond reading, the center also teaches adult learners everyday skills to become functionally literate.  This includes math, citizenship training, English as a second language, GED education, and financial literacy.
Loken-Weber says Milwaukee Achiever helps learners from various backgrounds and needs.  She says the center teaches a nationally accredited curriculum, helping adults turn their lives around.

Because its educator staff is mostly volunteer-based, Milwaukee Achiever is able to keep costs at a nearly non-existent level. Educators receive formal education in the curriculum then work with adult learners one-on-one to help them improve basic skills.

“We have individuals who have graduated high school, but come to us at a first-grade reading level who need the basics.  It’s not just the gift of being able to read.  It’s a little bit of everything to function in today’s society,” Loken-Weber said.

To become a volunteer, or for more information on adult literacy, visit Milwaukee Achiever's website or call (414) 463-7389.

For the audio version of this story, click the player below.