When the Pittsburgh Board of Education decided to shutter Connelley Adult Education Center, Don Block sprang into action to close the literacy education gap that the closing left in its wake.
Block, executive director, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, moved swiftly to meet the need. Within three months, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council had leased space in the Chamber of Commerce Building, assembled a professional and volunteer staff, and opened the Downtown Learning Center for classes.
That kind of dedication to leadership in literacy education has allowed the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council to assist more than 30,000 students during Block’s tenure to move onto better jobs, get off welfare, help their children in school and accomplish many other goals that have enhanced people’s lives and provided benefits to the larger community, as well.
Block has recognized the need among immigrants who come to Pittsburgh, many with professional credentials, to develop adequate language skills so that they can more readily secure employment in their chosen fields. To meet the need, Block initiated a program to provide immigrants with training to increase their proficiency in English.
Block’s accomplishments have also been demonstrated on a national stage. When the national Literacy AmeriCorps Program was in danger of coming to an end, those administering the program in other cities knew of Block’s reputation for leadership and looked to him to become national administrator of the program. With him at the helm, the program is now run out of Pittsburgh, making the city a center for literacy education.
HOW TO REACH: Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, www.gplc.org