Literacy Council of Fort Bend County Partners with Tramontina USA for Onsite Literacy Classes

Cristina Barrionueva and Terri Stuart.

By Tanya Sterling –

Approximately 154,000 Fort Bend County residents (19%) function at or below Level 1 Literacy, says a recent nationwide survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. This means that 154,000 adults living in Fort Bend County lack the reading and writing skills to manage daily living tasks that 81% of us accomplish every day.

Cognizant of these numbers, the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County (LCFBC)  is now partnering with Tramontina USA, an international company who manufactures high-end houseware products, including cookware, cutlery and kitchen accessories, to bring live literacy classes onsite to their employees.

“The partnership is designed to provide educational support services to English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) learners in the workplace environment,” explained Terri Stuart, Executive Director, LCFBC. “Through this partnership, we hope to provide more contextualized educational opportunities by applying our workplace-approved curriculum in a real workplace environment. We hope employees see the value in this by being able to use their newfound skills immediately thus improving both employer and educational outcomes.”

Across many ESL programs, adult students report that their biggest motivation in taking classes is to improve their employment opportunities whether its through a promotion, training, education, etc.  However, one of the biggest barriers adult students report is either not having the time to attend class or balancing classwork with job obligations. By bringing classes inside the workplace with employers who wish to invest in their employees’ futures, such as Tramontina USA, the Literacy Council hopes to help eliminate or minimize some of these barriers to improve the quality of life for all of their adult students.

“We provide a curriculum-based, comprehensive program which encompasses all aspects of literacy education, including reading comprehension, writing and grammar,” said Stuart. “We also plan to use contextualized exercises made specific to employee functions, such as manufacturing and customer service, in order to enable to employees to use their skills in real time to increase their chances of success.”

The LCFBC has over 900 adults who are active in their GED, ESL and US Citizenship programs with over 80 volunteers who provide approximately 3,000 hours of instruction. Moreover, 90% of the adult students served are Fort Bend County residents.

“Tramontina USA is excited to partner with the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County to offer ESL classes to our associates this fall,” said Cristina Barrionueva, Human Resources Manager, Tramontina, USA. “We met with LCFBC late last year as we were exploring options to offer ESL classes onsite. We learned what a valuable resource they are to our community and how easily we could work together to offer classes for our employees. We look forward to a rewarding partnership.”

Onsite literacy classes are scheduled to start at Tramontina USA within the next few months. Stuart hopes to expand into future partnerships with other employers based on availability of resources.

Visit or call 281.240.8181 for more information about The Literacy Council of Fort Bend.