The MLI began as a local initiative to address the low literacy levels of workers in their region. This successful program expanded and adapted as the community and the economy changed, evolving to include a focus on families, not just individual workers. The initiative has inspired changes within its parent organization as well. Internal collaborations formed and re-formed among divisions within the United Way of the Midlands to reach an organizational model driven by initiatives, not departments.
Beyond the walls of the United Way building, the MLI also helped catapult the issue of adult education onto a statewide agenda. MLI board members were asked to help develop training and certification programs for the state, share the MLI curriculum as a model, and participate in setting state adult education policy.
The MLI continues to change. As of August 2003, the MLI no longer exists as an initiative, but has evolved into the Education, Jobs & Life Skills Community Council, a division of the United Way of the Midlands. The MLI's success was a powerful model for change, and United Way administrators, observing its effectiveness, eventually transformed the entire United Way organization around target areas, of which the Education, Jobs & Life Skills Community Council is one. Although the MLI has taken a new form, the seeds of its work continue to grow.
The manufacturing needs matrix developed by this partnership can be found in the PDF version of this profile.