Literacy for Life leader joins state workforce development board

Joan Peterson, executive director at Literacy for Life, is joining forces with the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. She was sworn in at a ceremony Aug. 9.

“It’s really exciting and I’m thrilled,” Peterson said.

She hopes to use her new role as board member to benefit Literacy for Life’s clients, or learners, as they work to better themselves through education. Many learners hail from outside the United States and are in the process of learning English. Some have faced economic hardship or similar setbacks.

“Any time we can advocate for opportunities to help more people on the lower end of the spectrum through a career pathway, we’re happy,” Peterson said. “This particular group had not been represented before.”

The Board of Workforce Development is a business-led group that advises the governor and works to align workforces with economic development strategies statewide and regionally. This includes policy and budget recommendations, development of statewide performance metrics and more.

The board meets quarterly and its subcommittees meet regularly as well. Peterson said she will likely serve on a subcommittee, although she’s not yet certain of further details.

The organization recently opted to allow the inclusion of nonprofit groups, and it’s a natural fit for Literacy for Life, which, in part, helps its clients find jobs and integrate into their communities. Peterson hopes to extend her organization’s reach.

“I am hoping that what we are doing here will now have a greater audience, because I think what Literacy for Life is doing is amazing and has the potential to help more people,” she said.


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Birkenmeyer can be reached by email at, by phone at 757-790-3029 or on Twitter @sethbirkenmeyer.

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