Martha (left) and Helen earn badges as they work through the Learn to Earn Toolkit, a program for English Language Learners

Skill UP NRV is a new initiative coordinated by Literacy Volunteers of the NRV to give local adults the tools they need for success in the workplace. It is focused on helping adults gain knowledge and basic academic and/or digital literacy skills to achieve career goals and family self-sufficiency.

There is a gap in our region between what employers want or need their employees to be able to do, and the skills employees possess. Good, high-paying jobs are unfilled while workers lack the skills to fill them. This keeps many workers in the dark and unable to enter or remain in the middle class. Their lack of advanced skills means they are constantly faced with low wages and the incapacity to accomplish financial stability.

LVNRV’s Skill UP initiative helps local adults learn the basic skills they need (reading, writing, math, English, computers, GED skills) to accomplish their work-related goals and achieve economic stability for their family. Here are some examples of how Skill UP NRV is addressing the skills gap:

  • Jimmy worked for years in construction but a heart condition now prohibits him from physical labor; he is working with an LVNRV volunteer to learn digital and literacy skills he needs for a new career.
  • Tom is a hard worker but nearly lost his job because of low reading and computer skills, but with the help of his LVNRV tutor, he learned how to complete his online timesheet and read notes from his supervisor.
  • Allen, recently released from incarceration, wanted a better future; he is working with an LVNRV tutor to complete his GED and learn computer skills to go to college.
  • Rita worked with an LVNRV tutor to learn the English skills she needed to get and succeed at a job at a cleaning company.

LVNRV also partners with community partners serving low-income adults. Examples of Skill UP NRV strategies are job readiness tutoring for Montgomery County Social Services clients; drop-in GED/computer/job search tutoring at the LVNRV Christiansburg Learning Center and the NRVCS Radford 401 Peer Center; tutoring that contextualizes workforce and digital skills; and customized classes for targeted populations such as Computers and Writing, English for Work, Resume Writing and Job Search, and MoneyWise.

Thanks to the volunteers, community partners and funders the Skill UP NRV initiative is able to help adults learn the skills they need for financial self-sufficiency. For more information contact Linda Jilk,

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