Verizon Foundation To Award $100,000 This Year To Link Literacy and Workforce Development in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Verizon Foundation and West Virginia's seven regional workforce investment boards are teaming up to help improve literacy in the Mountain State.

The foundation is earmarking $100,000 toward the effort and is seeking proposals for literacy-based projects from the boards. All proposals must be submitted to Verizon Foundation by September 27. Verizon expects to announce the grant winners by Oct. 18.

"There's no question that basic literacy skills are the building blocks for getting and keeping a good job, and this strikes at the very mission of the Workforce Investment Boards" said Gale Given, president of Verizon West Virginia. "These boards will greatly aid our foundation in allocating these dollars to those projects where they will do the most good."

David Lieving, director of the Governor's Workforce Investment Division, expressed his support for Verizon's program.

"Efficient and competitive companies know that a well-trained and well-educated workforce is vital to success in the marketplace," Lieving said. "Workers need these skills to be effective at work, at home and in the community."

Given said Verizon has a long history of supporting both literacy and workforce development in West Virginia.

"This is the first time that we've combined our workforce development and literacy initiatives under a single grant program. We're excited about the opportunities this new arrangement will present," Given said.

Given said the grants are designed to encourage organizations to collaborate on their workforce development and literacy programs. With that objective in mind, each regional Workforce Investment Board may submit a comprehensive proposal on behalf of their board and local literacy partners. Literacy programs wishing to participate in their region's proposal should contact their local Workforce Investment Board office. Additional information is available at http://www.wvgwio.org/work4wv_regional_career_centers.htm.

The boards must submit their requests to Verizon online at http://foundation.verizon.com. No paper proposals will be accepted.

Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to helping Verizon employees, customers and the communities in which they work and live make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.