Four counties containing a mix of urban and rural areas; combined population of 596,253
Richland, Fairfield, Lexington, and Newberry Counties, South Carolina
United Way of the Midlands; South Carolina Literacy Resource Center, county public school districts; technical colleges; state departments of education and labor; local employers; One-Stop Center; local literacy councils; community- and faith-based organizations; and philanthropic organizations.
Adults needing adult basic education, GED preparation, English literacy, family literacy, workplace literacy, and work-readiness training services.
- A neutral forum (in this case, the United Way) can help partners overcome turf issues and work together on an issue of common concern.
- A strong business presence on the advisory board helps make clear the link between education and work.
- Partners worked to gain credibility among the business community because they knew it was vital to MLI’s success.
- Partnerships must be able to adapt to changing community needs. The MLI has incorporated pre-employment training, workforce education, and family literacy services as circumstances dictated.
- What makes the partnership work: a strong workforce development orientation and strong leadership from the business community; extensive in-kind and financial support through the United Way; dedicated staff, advisory board, and volunteers.
- Estimates place the number of clients served by the MLI since 1997 at between 2,000 and 5,000.
- MLI performed a job-skills needs assessment for local employers and from the results created a Manufacturing Needs Matrix to guide the development of the workplace skills training.
- The MLI Workplace Skills Curriculum, developed with assistance from state adult education staff and more than 30 local businesses, can be tailored to specific industries and has become a statewide model for workplace education programs.
- MLI board members have helped to create a state plan for adult education and continue to be involved in state policy issues.
- Recognizing that teaching adults in the workplace required different skills from those needed in more traditional settings, the MLI worked with the state department of education to develop a training program for workplace instructors that is now used statewide.
Funds and substantial in-kind support from the United Way of the Midlands; Knight Foundation grant; Sisters of Charity donations; resources from the state Adult Education Division and Department of Labor; fees for workplace literacy programs; and other grants and in-kind donations.
Industry Skills Needed for the Workplace (PDF, 70kb)
United Way of the Midlands
1800 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29202