Literacy skills deemed key to improving provincial economy
Laubach Literacy says more than half of population needs help with reading, writing skills
A volunteer literacy organization in New Brunswick is trying to recruit more students in an effort to improve reading and writing skills in the province.
Deanna Allen, the executive director of Laubach Literacy, contends the future of New Brunswick's economy depends on improved literacy.
As it stands, more than half of the province’s population needs to improve their reading and writing skills, she said.
New Brunswick's mainly resource-based economy — fisheries, forestry and agriculture — traditionally don’t require a high level of education, said Allen.
But a lot has changed, she said.
"Every conversation that's happening in this province when we're talking about the economy, we're talking about literacy. When we're talking about health care, we're talking about literacy, employability," said Allen.
The latest statistics show about 60 per cent of New Brunswickers over the age of 16 don't have the literacy skills they need to function in everyday life. That's about 300,000 people, she said.
Last year, Laubach Literacy helped just 300 people to improve their literacy skills.
"We have to recognize as a province that we can't afford to not be addressing this at every age group. There's no either or, it has to be all the way from childhood to adult age," said Allen.
Laubach Literacy has the resources to help more people, they just need to come forward, she said.