Workforce development begins with foundational skills

Reading Works is dedicated to helping Detroiters develop foundational skills that lead to good jobs and career advancement. We foster relationships between quality adult education providers and companies, creating long-term employment opportunities for the people and businesses of Detroit.

Help us strengthen Detroit’s workforce
Reading Works is dedicated to helping Detroiters develop foundational skills that lead to good jobs and career advancement. We foster relationships between quality adult education providers and companies, creating long-term employment opportunities for the people and businesses of Detroit.

Help us strengthen Detroit’s workforce

WHAT WE DO


We champion foundational skills development

Our network of quality educational service providers empowers adults to build the foundational skills necessary to improve their long-term employment opportunities.

We connect employers to workforce solutions

Reading Works is a trusted partner and advisor to the Detroit business community. We work with adult education providers and businesses to solve major workforce challenges.

We strengthen the fundamental talent pipeline

We are an advocacy organization that addresses the needs of the employer community. We drive progress and manage complex outcomes through collaboration and strategic guidance.


Foundational skill building is combined with occupational training and credentialing tied to employment.


On-ramp foundational skills programs that connect to progressive levels of education, training, and employment to build careers and economic success over time.


In-person, online, and hybrid program models connected to occupational training and jobs, resulting in individuals obtaining a diploma or employer-recognized credentials.


Foundational skills programs that employers support with facilities, time-off, and worker pay.


WHY READING WORKS MATTERS


Foundational education such as reading, writing, math, critical thinking, digital literacy, career navigation, and professional workforce skills are prerequisites for success in the vast majority of jobs and careers. However, 200,000 adults in Detroit lack some of these necessary foundational skills.

Reading Works strives to break the poverty cycle by helping education providers and businesses create new labor opportunities for employees and employers. Our network of educational service providers enables adult learners to build the foundational skills necessary for long-term employment success.

By strengthening the connections between the adult education community and area businesses, funders, and community partners, Reading Works helps remove barriers to personal, professional, and economic growth. We accelerate the rate at which adult learners are able to move through foundational skills programs and contribute to the workforce successfully.

THE DATA


More than 150,000 jobs in Detroit require a high school diploma and training. However:

  • 200,000 Detroit adults lack foundational skills.
  • 110,000 with a high school diploma lack the skills needed to obtain or keep a job.
  • 90,000 do not have high school diplomas.

Who are the 200,000 Detroiters in need of foundational skills education?

  • 56% are not in the workforce.
  • 32% are employed, primarily in low-wage jobs.
  • 12% are unemployed.

What has to change?

  • Current adult education programs are small, fragmented and inadequate.
  • There is little connectivity between foundational skills education and employment.
  • Most adult education providers use old learning models, and newer evidence-based models offer a greater likelihood of success for workforce development.

Reading Works creates positive change by:

  • Helping quality adult education service providers increase their impact.
  • Establishing a stronger connection between foundational skills education and employment.
  • Supporting adult education service providers that use effective evidence-based models.

Sources: Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, 2019; Analysis of American Community Survey PUMS data, 2017.