We would love to help you learn to speak, read, and write English. If you have trouble completing the application, please feel free to email us.


Estaremos encantados de ayudarte a hablar, leer y escribir en inglés. Si tienes problemas completando la aplicación, por favor escríbenos.

Workplace Literacy

Literacy is Good Business

A well-educated, highly skilled workforce is the best means of keeping the wheels of business moving forward. Employers’ needs and expectations for the skill-levels of front-line workers in all sectors of the economy continue to grow. There is also a need to address the skills of workers for whom English is not a native language.

The Manatee Literacy Council is committed to providing increased awareness in our community about the impact of low-levels of education on workers’ lives and the companies that they represent. Literacy levels affect employee safety, absenteeism, and overall business profitability. We provide in-person and virtual Workplace Literacy training for employees through trained teachers. Classes can be customized to a particular industry, with special attention paid to the soft skills and vocabulary needed for that industry.

Here in Florida, 24% of our adult population are at or below the lowest levels of literacy. (https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/piaac/skillsmap/) In the United States, more than 43 million adults cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. ProLiteracy estimates that low literacy levels costs the U.S. more than $225 BILLION each year in non-productivity, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.

How Literacy Helps Business

  • As workers’ basic skills improve, so does worker retention.
  • Workers with higher literacy levels are less likely to miss work days and more likely to recover from medical absences quicker than their illerate counterparts.
  • Better literacy skills contribute to greater health and well-being, as low literate adults cannot understand materials distributed by healthcare providers.
  • In the food industry, progressive changes, federal laws and safety regulations in preparation and packaging make it very important to overcome literacy barriers in the workplace.
  • Effective customer service in the hospitality industry depends on good communication in English and the ability to read and understand workplace materials and instructions.
  • Front-line food and hospitality workers are often those reading at the lowest levels and with the greatest need for English language instruction.
  • Workplace safety is closely related to literacy levels in all industries.

Top Ten Ways You Can Help

  1. Provide, encourage and support continuing education and professional training for employees.
  2. Donate to literacy programs which are often underfunded and have long waiting lists of learners needing trained volunteers.
  3. Provide in-kind donations of equipment, materials, advertising, space and technology.
  4. Donate Expertise by taking on a literacy program for pro-bono services such as financial or strategic planning, human resources, technology, webmastery or public relations.
  5. Encourage your employees to share their expertise and provide paid time for them to do so.
  6. Support family-friendly policies for education.
  7. Encourage employees to volunteer as literacy programs are often small and cannot hire staff.  They depend on volunteers and community partners.
  8. Become an advocate within your community, speaking out for adult education and literacy.
  9. Adopt a local literacy program – get your business involved in providing ongoing support at all levels and in all areas of your local community.
  10. Start a literacy program in your workplace!  Making training available to your employees is a positive incentive and opportunity to improve skills.  Partnering with Manatee Literacy Council is an excellent way to offer classes specifically geared toward improving the lives of your employees.
American businesses are estimated to lose over 60 billion in productivity each year due to employees’ lack of basic skills. About 20% of America’s workers have low basic skills and 75% of chronically unemployed adults have reading or writing difficulties. Manatee Literacy can work directly with your employees to improve their workplace literacy skills and your bottom line.

Please contact , Michelle Desveaux McLean, Executive Director for more information on how Workplace Literacy can help your business.