We see them every day, they are everywhere we go, and the English dictionary contains more than 171,000 of them. Yet 36 million adults lack the ability to comprehend words or are illiterate.
In Austin alone, more than 90,000 working-age adults lack the postsecondary skills needed in the workforce due to their basic lack of literacy—English, digital, reading, and writing—to communicate effectively.
For the past ten years, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has advocated for quality education of students and the workforce in the Central Texas region. The Chamber, through its Opportunity Austin initiative, has spent nearly $15 million on education and talent efforts in the Central Texas region. Recently, we advocated in Washington, D.C. for smart policies that improve Austin’s regional talent.
The hard work paid off and the fate of illiteracy may change for some Central Texas adults. Recently, the Texas Workforce Commission awarded $398,000 to the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas. The funding, provided through the Accelerate Texas grant, will provide integrated basic skills and vocational training to help low-skilled adults advance rapidly to middle-skilled jobs.
The program, in partnership with Goodwill Industries, Austin Career Institute, and Skillpoint Alliance, is expected to improve the literacy skills, workforce preparation, and occupational skills of 84 low-skilled adults interested in pursuing high-demand industries in the Central Texas region. This includes healthcare and middle-skilled trades such as construction. Central Texas residents will receive training in HVAC Tech 1, electrical helper courses, plumber helper courses, nursing assistant courses, and NCCER core construction courses.
Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.