The NIFL board must be confirmed by the Senate and represents a wide range of groups from across the country with a stake in literacy.
“This work links the local efforts of many communities, agencies and educational institutions here in Grand Rapids and across Michigan with national efforts,” Olivarez said. “The NIFL goals, which emphasize workplace readiness, family benefit and commitment to community, dovetail very closely with the mission and vision at Grand Rapids Community College.”
NIFL estimates that 14 percent of adults in Kent County and 21 percent of adults in Grand Rapids are unable to read such everyday materials as the newspaper, medicine bottle instructions and mail.
Susan Ledy, executive director of the Kent County Literacy Council, said Olivarez is the right person for the job and she hopes that West Michigan will benefit from the appointment.
“President Bush’s appointment of Juan Olivarez to the board of the National Institute for Literacy is a great thing for this community,” Ledy said. “As president of Grand Rapids Community College, he is confronted with the limitations adults face when they lack basic reading skills. His appointment will benefit all local, area and statewide organizations devoted to family literacy, literacy for immigrants, migrants, and refugees, as well as workplace literacy.”
Olivarez will attend his first NIFL meeting in January.