To develop a competitive economy in a rapidly changing global world, we need a competent, adaptable and resilient workforce - today and tomorrow. Books@Work uses sophisticated literature and experienced professors to broaden the perspectives and experiences of its participants and to enhance learning, celebrate diversity and deepen interpersonal interaction. We target adults because they are the backbone of our society and economy, and the parents and grandparents of the next generation of learners and workers.
In 2009, we piloted Books@Work with food service employees at AVI Foodsystems and professors from Hiram College. Participants found a common language and set of experiences through the books, and professors learned from the perspectives of non-traditional learners. Supervisors found that participants “asked better questions” and were more engaged – with each other and their customers.
Today we partner with companies in healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, technology, professional services and non-profit. In several companies we have expanded the program to natural teams and cross-functional groups across the organization. Feedback indicates that participants enjoy new ideas and gain a deeper appreciation for their colleagues. Companies appreciate increased contribution and collaboration from participants. Books@Work is working.
Books@Work aspires to make a meaningful contribution to building lifelong learning and critical thinking in society and to help build a more creative and productive workforce in our partner companies. In addition, we develop philanthropically funded programs with school districts, non-profits, veteran's groups and human service organizations to reach an extended network of adults, cultivating a sense of connection and collaboration within neighborhoods, schools and families. Our goal: 100,000 participants a year by 2023.