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Adult Literacy Center to celebrate 40 years of service

Drake University’s Adult Literacy Center will celebrate 40 years of service to the community this week with a celebration, during which they will announce a brand new literacy program.

Since its founding in 1976, the Adult Literacy Center has taught basic literacy skills to about 2,500 adults through the work of more than 2,100 volunteer mentors.

The center will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, in Parents Hall on the upper floor of Drake’s Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave.

The reception will double as the formal launch of a new Workplace Literacy program. The Adult Literacy Center will partner with local employers to provide on-site literacy training for employees who require additional English reading, writing, and speaking skills.

“We are honored to celebrate 40 years of service,” said Anne Murr, director of the Adult Literacy Center at Drake University. “Drake’s School of Education has been a wonderful partner for all these years, and we’ve been privileged to offer personalized instruction to so many students in central Iowa.”

National data show about 1 in 6 people adults lack functional literacy in English. Demand for the Adult Literacy Center’s services continues to increase.

The center has served nearly 150 students this year, compared to 125 students last year, through its one-on-one volunteer mentor program. The new Workforce Literacy program has been tested with about 10 employees at a single employer; the program has additional capacity and is currently seeking additional employers with whom to collaborate.

“We are always seeking new ways to serve the community,” Murr said. “The need is there—and we welcome new ways to increase our outreach. We certainly don’t want to be Des Moines’ best-kept secret.”