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Philadelphia Volunteers Step In After Pennsylvania Budget Creates Adult Education Gap

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Lutheran Settlement House, in the Fishtown section of the city, is helping adults who are having trouble finding work get the literacy and computer skills they need for meaningful employment.

Philadelphia-based Aramark Corporation and the volunteering agency City Year sent dozens of volunteers to help renovate underutilized rooms at Lutheran Settlement House so computer instructor Kwaku Boateng (at right in photo) could help those lacking a high school diploma get the skills they need to effectively search for work.

"Importantly, GEDs are going to be online now," he explains.   "There won't be paper GED classes.   You need computer skills plus your GED."

LSH executive director Kelly Davis (at left in photo) says her organization bridged the gap after the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania cut back all funding two years ago for the adult literacy program, which included GED classes.

"They cut us out completely," she tells KYW Newsradio, "so we retooled and made it a volunteer program."

"I'm learning to spell better, read better, and pursue a job better," says 37-year-old Mark of Kensington, one of the participants.

And Fred from Port Richmond is enjoying learning as he approaches his 71st birthday.

"I'm learning how to read -- it's awesome!" he says.

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