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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bipartisan Senate Resolution recognizing the week of September 22nd , 2014 as National Adult Education and Family Literacy week.

“I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan resolution that recognizes the importance of adult education and literacy programs,” said Senator Patty Murray. “As we continue to look for ways to create jobs and grow the economy, adult education and literacy programs are critical tools to ensure our students and workers have the skills they need to succeed in school, in their careers, and in life.”

“Nothing is so important to finding a job and achieving the American Dream as the ability to read, yet millions of Americans, including 1 in 8 adults in Tennessee, still lack this essential skill,” said Senator Lamar Alexander. “Adult education and literacy programs do important work for our economy and our citizens by helping students and workers get the education they need to succeed in the competitive workplace.”    

Approximately 36 million adults in the U.S. lack the basic literacy and numeracy necessary to succeed at home, in the workplace, and in society. Adult education helps these individuals - many of whom lack a high school diploma or equivalent credential - gain the skills they need to become employed, keep and advance in their jobs, engage in postsecondary and training programs, participate in their children's education, and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Adult education programs were part of the recently reauthorized Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that was introduced by Murray and Alexander.

Co-Sponsors of the resolution include: Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Tim Johnson, (D-SD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

Full Text of the Resolution below:

Designating the week of September 22 through 28, 2014, as ``National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week''.

Whereas the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that approximately 36,000,000 adults in the United States lack the basic literacy and numeracy necessary to succeed at home, in the workplace, and in society;

Whereas the literacy of the people of the United States is essential for the economic and societal well-being of the United States;

Whereas the United States reaps the economic benefits of individuals who improve their literacy, numeracy, and English-language skills;

Whereas literacy and educational skills are necessary for individuals to fully benefit from the range of opportunities available in the United States;

Whereas the economy and position of the United States in the world marketplace depend on having a literate, skilled population;

Whereas the unemployment rate in the United States is highest among those without a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, demonstrating that education is important to economic recovery;

Whereas the educational skills of a child’s parents and the practice of reading to a child have a direct impact on the educational success of the child;

Whereas parental involvement in a child’s education is a key predictor of a child’s success, and the level of parental involvement in a child’s education increases as the educational level of the parent increases;

Whereas parents who participate in family literacy programs become more involved in their children’s education and gain the tools necessary to obtain a job or find better employment;

Whereas as a result of family literacy programs, the lives of children become more stable, and their success in the classroom and in future endeavors becomes more likely;

Whereas adults need to be part of a long-term solution to the educational challenges faced by the people of the United States;

Whereas many older people in the United States lack the reading, math, or English skills necessary to read a prescription and follow medical instructions, which endangers their lives and the lives of their loved ones;

Whereas many individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, or receive public assistance lack the literacy skills necessary to obtain and keep a job to provide for their families, to continue their education, or to participate in job training programs;

Whereas many high school dropouts do not have the literacy skills necessary to complete their education, transition to postsecondary education or career and technical training, or obtain a job;

Whereas a large portion of individuals in prison have low educational skills, and prisoners without educational skills are more likely to return to prison once released;

Whereas many immigrants in the United States do not have the literacy skills necessary to succeed in the United States; and

Whereas National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week highlights the need to ensure that each individual in the United States has the literacy skills necessary to succeed at home, at work, and in society: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates the week of September 22 through 28, 2014, as “National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week” to raise public awareness about the importance of adult education, workforce skills, and family literacy;

(2) encourages people across the United States to support programs to assist individuals in need of adult education, workforce skills, and family literacy programs;

(3) recognizes the importance of adult education, workforce skills, and family literacy programs; and

(4) calls upon public, private, and nonprofit entities to support increased access to adult education and family literacy programs to ensure a literate society.