The Council received a presentation from representatives of the YMCA Educational Services (YES!) program detailing their work promoting adult literacy in New Orleans. Approximately 39 percent of adults in Greater New Orleans function below a sixth-grade reading level. YES! is the only program in the City tailored to providing adults with the necessary reading capabilities to succeed in the 21st-century workplace.
The program provides free classes in reading and language comprehension, writing, math, computer literacy, resume building and workplace literacy. Through adult education, the YMCA empowers individuals to teach their children, participate in civic activities and pursue better jobs. Studies show that for every $1 invested in adult education, a community receives $11 back through income, property taxes, and savings on welfare and legal system expenses.
"Our city is doing better than average when it comes to high school graduates," said District "E" Councilmember James Gray. "While we're not where we want to be, we're better than we think we are. The national average for states is 86.7 percent. Louisiana's average is 83.4 percent and New Orleans' average is 85.2 percent. These stats ought to encourage us to work harder and do more. Thank you for showing our adult community that the sky's the limit with the proper training."