PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The coronavirus pandemic has caused issues for adults looking to further their education.
Adult literacy programs are looking for help as hundreds of people are submitting applications for free tutoring services. But few are actually volunteering as tutors.
“Adult education is something a lot of folks don’t think about, but there really is a great need,” Maria Polinsky of Literacy Pittsburgh told KDKA.
The organization is swamped. Literacy Pittsburgh prepares adults in Allegheny and Beaver counties for the workforce by providing free tutoring to more than 5,000 people each year.
“In Allegheny County alone there’s about 54,000 adults who either don’t have a high school credential or don’t have the adequate English language skills,” said Polinsky.
With high unemployment rates this year because of the pandemic, more people are looking to up their education to pivot careers.
“People need skills to be ready for the workforce of today,” said Polinsky.
But there are not enough tutors to go around and applications have dried up. Spaces like libraries and churches, where organizations usually recruit candidates, have been closed during the pandemic.
This has caused problems in meeting demand.
“We do have a waiting list of about 200 students,” said Polinsky.
They are encouraging anyone with a giving heart to apply.
“We have lost some folks because of the situation we are in. But we also know there are people who are looking to give back to their community right now. So we know that opportunity is out there, we just need to get the word out,” Polinsky told KDKA.
On average, there are about 700 volunteers with Literacy Pittsburgh each year. Volunteers work twice a week for two hours with students.
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