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Coalition Calls for Major State Investment in Adult Literacy Education

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 413-687-5160,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Monday, January 25, 2016)

Coalition Calls for Major State Investment in Adult Literacy Education

(New York, NY) In Governor Cuomo’s 2016-2017 Executive Budget, funding for adult literacy education was included at $6.3 million, an amount that has remained flat for the past three years despite the fact that this amount is significantly short of meeting the needs of nearly 3.5 million adult New Yorkers who lack English proficiency, a high school diploma or both.    

Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, stated, "The Coalition calls on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to stop leaving adult learners behind, and to truly make a meaningful investment in Adult Literacy Education (ALE) by including $17.2 million for these critical services in the final budget. The proposed funding level of $6.3 million for ALE in the Executive Budget does not do enough to make a dent in this goal.

“For low-income adults, education is the key to securing employment and building a foothold in the job market. But for the 2.17 million adult New Yorkers without a high school diploma and the 2.23 million who lack English proficiency, this opportunity is woefully out of reach. In fact, less than three percent of those in need of English language development are able to receive support through state-funded programs.

"As the State prepares to implement the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), it is critical New York takes advantage of this opportunity to lay a robust foundation of community-based ESOL and adult education programming that will equip adult learners with literacy and numeracy skills that will in turn boost New York’s workforce and economy, support New York’s families and strengthen our communities. Until our State leaders make a real, significant investment in ALE, millions of New Yorkers will continue to be unable to take the next step up the ladder, and our economy will blocked from reaching its full potential.”

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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)  is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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