Verizon Joins with U.S. Chamber of Commerce To Support Workforce Training Initiatives

WASHINGTON -- A new toolkit designed to help businesses raise awareness about the impact of low literacy in the workplace is now available from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web site at www.uschamber.com/cwp. The information makes a strong case for local businesses to help improve adult literacy in their communities.

The kit, called A Chamber Guide to Workplace Literacy: Higher Skills -- Bottom Line Results, is part of a national workforce development initiative by the chamber's Center for Workforce Preparation, the National Institute for Literacy and Verizon SuperPages, the nation's leading publisher of print and electronic directories. The toolkit will help businesses address the fact that many American workers do not have the skills needed to excel in the modern workplace. The material was underwritten by Verizon Foundation.

As one of the country's largest employers, Verizon is among a number of organizations supporting programs to ensure skilled workforces. Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, will invest $15 million this year in workforce development projects run by nonprofit organizations.

"We have joined with the National Institute for Literacy and Verizon SuperPages to provide employers with the resources they need to provide on-the-job, work-related training," said Beth Buehlmann, executive director, Center for Workplace Preparation. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics predicts that such training will be required for almost 70 percent of all job openings through 2010.

"With business success riding on workforce competence, the deficit in workplace skills is an urgent business issue that demands employers' attention," said Janet Stevens, group vice president -- public affairs, Verizon Information Services. "That's why Verizon is joining with businesses of all sizes to improve workforce skills."

The Guide to Workplace Literacy: Higher Skills -- Bottom Line Results provides a template for an awareness campaign about literacy issues and includes fact sheets, case studies and sample presentations.

Many of the experts who contributed to the toolkit will participate in a webcast today at 1 p.m. Eastern time. The webcast, which will be hosted by the Center for Workforce Preparation, will encourage the business community to provide workplace literacy and skills training.

The webcast, titled "Higher Skills -- Bottom-Line Results," will bring together a number of workforce education experts. The webcast will be moderated by John Comings, director, National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, Harvard Graduate School of Education. It also will include: Daniel Berry, president, Greater Cleveland Growth Association; John Schneider, director, New Skills for New Economy Campaign, Mass Inc.; Michael Bloom, director of education and learning, The Conference Board of Canada, and Janet Stevens, group vice president -- public affairs, Verizon Information Services -- the publisher of Verizon SuperPages.

Participants must register to view the webcast live at www.uschamber.com/cwp and download the appropriate form to get a password. The webcast will be archived and available for viewing at approximately 3 p.m. today at www.uschamber.com/CWP/Projects/Workforce+Innovation+Networks/chambercast+Series/default.htm.

In addition to national initiatives such as Verizon SuperPages' support of the chamber's workforce tool kit, more than 30 states and international communities will benefit from the $15 million Verizon Foundation will invest in local workforce development projects this year. Examples of recent grant recipients include:

  • Chaffey College Foundation, Chino, Calif. -- This public-private partnership will provide an Information Technology Training Facility as an incentive to employers to locate their businesses within the city. The facility will provide the training needed to create an educated workforce in Chino.

  • Carlos Rosario International Career Center, Washington, D.C. -- The Career Center's New Horizons Program helps recent immigrant students develop the language and life skills needed to get better jobs.

  • Northern New England Tradewomen, Vermont -- Tradewomen's "STEP IT UP" program helps Vermont women succeed in the skilled trades or other nontraditional activities.

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping people and communities make progress every day. In addition to investing $15 million in workforce projects this year, the foundation will invest another $19 million in literacy initiatives and $75 million over all. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, creating a skilled workforce, enriching communities through technology and bridging the digital divide. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages employee volunteerism by matching employee gifts of money, time and talent with foundation grants. For more information visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing nearly 3,000,000 businesses, 3,000 state and local chambers, 850 business associations, and 87 American chambers of commerce abroad.

About the Center for Workforce Preparation

The Center for Workforce Preparation (CWP) is a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce focused on workforce development and quality education issues. Its sole mission is to assist chambers of commerce in the development of workforce strategies so their members can hire, train, retain, and advance workers with skills to compete in the 21st Century. For more information visit CWP's Web site at www.uschamber.com/cwp or call (202) 463-5525.

About Verizon Communications

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.


Stephanie Hobbs, Verizon SuperPages, 972-453-7016

Larry Plumb, Verizon Communications, 703-974-3428

Linda Rozett, United States Chamber of Commerce, 202-463-5682

Jean Young, Young & Associates, 301-309-9404