Initiative launched to help reduce local illiteracy numbers


12% of adults in Oneida and Herkimer counties are lacking basic literary, meaning they are on the educational level of a third grader or below.

On Monday, in an effort to reduce those numbers, the Literacy Coalition of Herkimer and Oneida Counties brought together over 70 business leaders, community members, and educators at Mohawk Valley Community College.

The idea is to brainstorm ways to combat high illiteracy rates in the area. A six month research and planning period is now underway to create a vision to achieve 100% literacy throughout the community.

The Literacy Coalition along with community supporters will look at the problems in the area and then come up with plans to help fix them.

"We saw kids aren't graduating on time and (they're being left) behind, "said Laura Sepanski Pimentel, Executive Director of the Literacy Coalition. "When they are coming into community college, they need to take remedial courses because they are not ready with their high school or GED education. It's not preparing them to start community college."

Illiteracy also impacts the local economy. For each high school graduate, there is a savings of $127,000 in the cost of welfare support over a lifespan.

On Tuesday, the Literacy Coalition will hold another meeting open to the community with hundreds are expected to attend.

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