The mission of SBLC is to improve the self-sufficiency of educationally disadvantaged adults. SBLC is a community-based nonprofit organization providing functional literacy and life skills training, in addition to career preparation services, to residents in the Baltimore Area. SBLC is in its 29th year of operation – an incredible milestone for a nonprofit – and is now one of only a few remaining community-based adult literacy organizations still in operation.
Meeting Baltimore’s Adult Literacy Needs
According to the 2014 American Community Survey in Baltimore:
- There are over 90,000 residents (18 and older) without a high school diploma;
- More than 34% of residents (25 and older) who did not graduate from high school are living in poverty; and
- Individuals without a high school diploma earn on average $20,000, vs. $28,000 for a high school graduate, and $49,000 for a college graduate.
Moreover, in the Baltimore Region, the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma is 20.4% compared to 11.1% for those with a diploma, and 3.1% with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher (Opportunity Collaborative 2014 Final Report: Barriers to Employment Opportunities in the Baltimore Region). The Report found that based on a survey of over 1,000 job seekers in Baltimore City and surrounding counties, 82% face at least 3 barriers to employment and 55% face six or more. Included among these barriers are low levels of literacy (14%), lack of basic math skills (30%), difficulties using technology (28%) and no high school diploma (13%).