Through the generosity of supporter Mort Harris, the Office of Adult Literacy was established in 2012 to galvanize efforts that fulfill his vision of making a substantial impact on the startling literacy levels in Detroit. The Harris Literacy Program was launched in 2013 as a turn-key educational enhancement program for adults whose literacy levels are equivalent to the fourth- to eighth-grade range. With the underlying goal of workforce development, the program provides adult basic education to help members of the Detroit community reach their academic goals and make steps toward greater self-sufficiency.
Research and teaching impact
The Harris Literacy Program strives to leave the greatest possible imprint on the adult illiteracy issue while helping Detroit residents make educational inroads to self-sufficiency. Using university research to identify and apply best-practices, the program seeks to improve the adult literacy learning experience. Through the P.U.L.S.E. literacy forum, we work in partnership with Reading Works Detroit to disseminate these models and techniques to other adult learning providers in the Detroit literacy landscape.
The Harris Literacy Program has impacted more than 300 adult learners in the city's functionally illiterate population. On average, more than 50 percent of the students who complete a program session realize an improvement of one-to-two grade levels.
The Harris Literacy Program operates at three Detroit locations. Once students reach their desired academic level, they are referred to GED-preparation courses or to the trade/professional skills program of their interest. Site partners include: