2021 Newsmaker: Wendy Falb

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Wendy Falb

Executive Director

Literacy Center of West Michigan

Literacy Center of West Michigan expanded and enhanced access to programming through local partnerships and by adding to its team in 2021.

The organization provided an on-site Customized Workplace English (CWE) program for Spectrum Health’s environmental services employees, taught in the context of the workplace with a focus on improving verbal and written English literacy including reading and listening. The program gives employers a solution to the high-demand talent market while providing personal and professional development for employees. LCWM has provided more than 80 companies with CWE programming since 2001.

“Literacy is a profoundly essential need for anyone to achieve a proper quality of life and contribute to our local economy, and it often goes overlooked,” said Wendy Falb, Ph.D., LCWM executive director. “Our workplace English program is truly adapted to meet the needs of each organization. By improving employees’ literacy skills in the workplace, employers are filling talent gaps while strengthening companywide culture and efficiencies, increasing safety and reducing costly employee turnover.”

The organization also appointed a new Family Literacy Program director in 2021 and received a $50,000 grant from the Fifth Third Bank Foundation to expand its Adult Basic Education (ABE) program. Grant funding also was used to hire a part-time ABE coordinator to redesign and expand recruitment and retention strategies, develop curriculum, and create programming that meets learner-identified needs.

LCWM also worked with a group of local nonprofits to complete its second cohort of job readiness resource navigation and remove barriers to employment. The one-month training program connects students with six community partners based on their individual needs.

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