Kern County continues to see poor literacy rates as campaign attempts to chip away at numbers

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Literacy Council says literacy statistics in the county are still poor. 

According to the KLC:

  • 13.9% of Kern County adults lack the basic literacy skills necessary to perform daily job functions (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
  • 15% of county adults have not attained at 9th-grade literacy level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
  • 27% of Kern County adults over 25 do not have a high school diploma (U.S. Census 2010-2014 American Community Survey-5 Year Estimates)

The KLC offers tutoring for people in the county who lack literacy skills, but they say it can be hard to get people to ask for help.

"A lot of students that come here ask us, 'please don't tell anyone that I'm here'," said Gabriela Gamboa, program coordinator at KLC. 

"In the six years I've been here, I can state that Kern County is not in a good place, education-wise," Gamboa said. "We have people who come here who don't know how to read, who have a high school diploma and don't know how to read."

"I have people who lack the fundamental skills to succeed," she said. Gamboa also encourages people to come to them for help, despite any embarrassment they may have.

"I don't care what you've done, where you've been," she said. "I care about what you're doing to get better."

You can reach the Kern Literacy Council at 661-324-3213.

23ABC has partnered with the council for the "If You Give a Child a Book Campaign" in an effort to chip away at illiteracy rates here in Kern by providing youth with books. You can learn more about the campaign and donating here.

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