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Friday, March 10, 2017

The United Way is Building A More Educated Workforce in Muskegon

We've talked in the past here on Positively Muskegon about the ALICE program.  ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, it's a fancy way of describing the working poor.  There's enough to get by, but there's no possibility of getting ahead.  The United Way continues to work with employers, showing them the value of investing in employees...but what can they do to better prepare those who are looking for work?

It comes back the very basics.  The most basic being the ability to read.  March, is reading month and what better time to show you some of the work that the United Way of the Lakeshore is doing.  It begins at the youngest ages.  It's been shown that if kids know how to read by the end of 3rd grade, they are able to read to learn as they advance through the education system.  There are tutors with boots on the ground right now in Muskegon who are addressing literacy.  According to Kids Count data 60% of third graders in Muskegon county are not proficient in reading.  Many of our children from low income families show up for kindergarten with a 30 million word gap compared to other children – a gap that many of them are not able to make up.  

Be a Lucky Charm for Kids with Nichols Paper to Match Up to $25k
"We can change the odds for our kids by supporting programs that will help prepare our kids for success.  Our aim is that every child graduates and is workforce ready. “As we work to meet our bold goal of helping 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025, we are also investing in education programs that will help kids be stronger readers and improve overall literacy levels in our community,” said Christine Robere, President, United Way of the Lakeshore. “Literacy is foundational to obtaining a good paying job”.

The United Way of the Lakeshore programs that will benefit from the “March is Reading Month—Be a Lucky Charm” matched funding include Pre-K Literacy Tutors through Hope Network’s Michigan Education Corps (MEC) Reading Corps Program, which works to improve literacy among the community’s most underprivileged students; Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL), a national program supported by community donations, DPIL works to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month; and Quality Child Care, as the need for quality child care solutions in our community was identified by our ALICE families as a key barrier to success. United Way of the Lakeshore will be looking to provide funding support to improve the quality and availability of child care in our community, because high quality childcare is a key part of setting the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

Nichols Paper of Muskegon is doing their part too, matching up to $25,000 in donations to help the United Way continue this work and move our people forward.  Christine Robere joined me to talk a little more in depth about the program and the march.  Take a listen to our chat below.

Quite a difference can be made it we all do a small part.  As we talked in the video, you don't have to be a "huge donor" to have an impact and with Nichols generous matching we can help so many kids become batter readers moving our entire community forward.   Please consider you're role in a better future in Muskegon by helping the United Way.  For the United Way of the Lakeshore's page, click below.

Sponsor Message

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