Mott Community College has experienced, first hand, the consequences of low literacy. Remedial basic skills courses are required for many entering students. Remedial courses prove to be expensive, both for the college and for the students who can exhaust their financial aid resources before they begin regular coursework. The result is low graduation rates for those students entering without strong literacy skills.
"When you invest in the infrastructure it allows you to bring people together to be able to influence not only where existing resources are being directed, but also who can think differently about new resources. It takes longer to build a network as a sustainable entity, but if it does happen and it happens properly,those that are at the provider level should be able to get the resources that they need and be more effective at what they are doing."
By 2013, when CFGF put its "stake in the ground" on literacy, it was to find innovative ways to respond to this new landscape, urgent needs and smaller budgets. We knew that to have strong families and vibrant communities in the future, we needed to invest in literacy today. We also needed to better prepare our students so that they were ready for college coursework and professional training, and didn't expend years of financial aid on remedial classes that did not count toward a degree or certificate. We were ready to move-with a collective impact model-and we had gotten the ball rolling in the right direction.
Soon, we were able to support the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network, which was created to engage a variety of community stakeholder organizations, strengthen ongoing collaboration, and improve literacy resources and services in the region. Currently, it coordinates the work of more than 100 direct service providers that serve residents throughout Genesee County.