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Adult Literacy and Education Program


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An Action is an individual policy, project, program, partnership, study, or advocacy position that the City and the community must execute to support an initiative. They are the smallest level of recommendation made in the Master Plan. They are also the most concrete, implementable elements.

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An Initiative is a coordinated effort to achieve a Goal. Initiatives contain Actions that, when executed together, will help the City achieve one or more of its Goals.

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Adult literacy and education is key to improving career outcomes for Trenton’s adults and children. According to research compiled by ProLiteracy, an adult literacy and basic education membership organization, children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. (National Bureau of Economic Research) These children typically struggle in the classroom, and are more likely to display behavioral problems, drop out, or fail a grade level. Adults with low literacy and numeracy levels higher rate of unemployment and earn lower wages than the national average. 
To alleviate adult literacy barriers in in Trenton, the Mercer County Workforce Development Board, in conjunction with the City of Trenton, should expand upon existing programs in Trenton at Mercer Street Friends and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, as well as the statewide network Literacy New Jersey which houses a program in Hamilton, New Jersey. As a first step, the Workforce Development Board should consider funding increased services at local adult education providers while also support local social service agencies to add sustainable adult literacy services to their existing offerings. This approach enables literacy services to reach populations that do not currently have access to it – while they may benefit from this support – may not think to look for it. 
After establishing a more comprehensive network of literacy services across the City, the Workforce Development Board could then explore a dual-generation approach to adult literacy and education, similar to the services offered at Literacy Partners in New York City. Dual-generation programs, which are currently being tested by leaders such as The Annie E. Casey Foundation, provide a holistic set of services to adults and children, recognizing that concentrating interventions at solely the parents or children may not maximize the amount of impact a program can have. 

Case Study

Literacy Partners strengthens families through a two-generation approach to education. With our free classes, low-income parents in New York City develop the literacy and language skills they need to succeed in today’s world. Our research-based curriculum also incorporates child development and parenting support to help parents boost their children’s early reading, school readiness, and social-emotional growth.


Details of Adult Literacy and Education Program



Supporting Departments:

Department Of Housing And Economic Development

Partnering Organizations:

Trenton Public Schools

Workforce Development Stakeholders

Community Organizations




Downtown District

North District

East District

South District

West District

Topic Focused Report: