COABE and Tyson Foods Partner to Lift Literacy Levels Through the Adult Literacy XPRIZE

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2019 – The mission of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) is to provide leadership, communication, professional development, and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners to advance quality services for all adult learners. COABE’s partnership with Tyson Foods aims to reach adult learners with low literacy skills and enable them to reach their literacy goals twice as quickly because they can work with the app on their own time. 

The $1 million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition challenges communities and organizations across the country to empower adults with low literacy skills to download and use a free, effective, convenient, and private mobile learning app. The Learning Upgrade App tied for first place in phase 1 of the Barbara Bush Foundation’s Adult Literacy XPRIZE Competition. 

COABE has since partnered with Tyson Foods, the largest food company in the U.S., because of their ground breaking in-plant workforce education program called Upward Academy. Through this educational program, Tyson offers free English, GED®, and U.S. Citizenship classes, plus monthly functional literacy classess, covering various topics such as legal aid, loan scams, and tax fraud. Approximately 5,000 of the company’s frontline team members in 43 of its plants have received more than 160,000 hours of instruction. These team members will begin benefiting from Learning Upgrade’s free app which has already shown tremendous results in pre and post field tests over a 12-month period. 

“Low education and skill levels of adults are a fundamental barrier to every major challenge facing the United States, including early childhood education, education reform, economic development, and improving the health and well-being of our nation’s families and communities,” said Sharon Bonney, Executive Director of COABE. “This is why we are so passionate about equipping adult learners and local programs with the necessary tools, such as the app endorsed by the Adult Literacy XPrize.” 

Through its partnership with Tyson Foods’ Upward Academy, Marriott, Alliance for Freedom, Restoration, and Justice (AFRJ, an anti-human trafficking firm), and the National Association of the State Directors of Adult Education (NASDAE), COABE hopes to get Learning Upgrade’s free app into the hands of the over 36 million American adults who lack basic English literacy. 

“Equipping our team members with the right tools for their education has been critical to the success of Upward Academy,” said Kevin Scherer, senior manager, employee social responsibility, Tyson Foods. “We’re excited to collaborate with COABE on this innovative initiative and provide our team members with greater access to the resources they need to be successful.”