Verizon Strengthens Workforce Development Demonstration Project

Fort Wayne - An innovative demonstration project that helps workers in Northeast Indiana invest in their future in partnership with their employers is receiving a boost from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) received a $50,000 grant from Verizon to support the Lifelong Learning Account (LiLA) program. The program helps workers establish employer-matched savings accounts to finance lifelong learning so that workers can upgrade their skills and knowledge to achieve their career goals. The program is in the second year of a three-year demonstration project CAEL is conducting in the region in the manufacturing and local government sectors.

Edward J. Weise, region president of Verizon North, presented the grant today during a workshop on the project, organized by area employers.

"An educated workforce is the key to economic opportunity for residents of Northeast Indiana," Weise said. "This $50,000 grant to CAEL demonstrates Verizon's commitment to lifelong learning."

The demonstration targets sectors that have a high concentration of lower-wage and/or lower-skilled workers. "CAEL's policy goal is to make LiLAs available to all workers as part of standard employee compensation packages, putting lifelong learning within reach of all workers, particularly those in low-wage and low-skilled jobs," says Pamela Tate, CAEL's president and CEO.

Northeast Indiana participating employers include: the Cities of Angola, Auburn, Fort Wayne and Kendallville; Hyndman Industrial Products Inc of Ft. Wayne; LA West Inc. of LaGrange; Lime City Manufacturing of Huntington; National Plastics Corporation of Fort Wayne; Stumps Manufacturing of South Whitley; Time Services Inc. of Fort Wayne; Vestil Manufacturing of Angola, and Western Consolidated Technologies of Fremont and Ligonier.

Verizon Foundation last year awarded 22,000 grants totaling more than $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer more than 500,000 hours in their communities and provided $27.8 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.