Jesse White Awards Over $5.6 Million in Adult Literacy Grants


Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded over $5.6 million in Adult Literacy Grants to help students develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“An estimated two million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English-language instruction,” White said. “I am pleased to provide funding for 108 local literacy projects that will allow adult students to help them achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. It has been an honor serving as Secretary of State and State Librarian for the last 24 years, helping to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”

A total of 10,589 students are served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 4,686 volunteer tutors provide training for students to obtain skills that put them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help Illinois adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

The Adult Literacy Program is administered by the Secretary of State’s Illinois State Library Literacy Office and awards grants in three categories:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy provides training for volunteers who tutor adults 17 years of age and older in basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Participating literacy providers may include libraries, volunteer tutoring organizations, community-based organizations, community colleges, regional offices of education, schools (individual and public), preschool programs, school districts, domestic-violence shelters and correctional facilities.
  • Penny Severns Family Literacy ― provides educational services to parents and children to enhance basic reading, math, writing or language skills. Programs must partner with an adult literacy provider, a child-at-risk agency and a public library.
  • Workplace Skills Enhancement ― provides onsite instructional services to employees of participating Illinois businesses, enabling them to enhance their basic reading, writing or language skills, and improve their chances for promotion. Eligible employees must read at or below the ninth-grade level. Grantees must match the grant award and may also provide instructional services to prospective employees. The fiscal agent and submitting agency may be either the educational partner or the business partner.

Individuals who are interested in becoming volunteer tutors are encouraged to call or text the Illinois Adult Education Hotline at 800-321-9511.

(A list of grant recipients below)

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