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Back to School/Back to Work: Coming Soon!

For many of us, the months of July and August constitute a busy time on the home front. The pace of the work week slows down a bit (here and there) so we can take advantage of the long summer days, which are often filled with family get-togethers, vacations and summer youth sports!

Because KJT has an unlimited PTO policy, our employee owners are free to adjust their summer calendars so the parents on staff can catch all their kids’ soccer – or baseball – games, the golfers can play in their summer leagues – and everyone can just take some time for themselves to relax and recharge before the fall season kicks in.

At KJT, we’re fortunate to have the flexibility and resources to be able to do all those things.

However, we must realize that many people are not so lucky, and with the agency’s renewed focus on under-represented and underserved populations (from a healthcare research standpoint), we have recently pledged our support in other ways to help those who need it most.

In June of this year, KJT became a corporate sponsor of the Marketing Research Education Foundation (MREF), whose focus is on enabling a quality education for marginalized children and youth around the globe. MREF is comprised of leaders from the research community who are passionate about the critical importance of education and literacy.

From a Rochester, NY standpoint (the home of KJT headquarters), the need is very high. According to recent studies, there is only a 53.5% graduation rate in our city schools, with fewer than 10% of students proficient in Math or English.

With the ‘22/’23 school year right around the corner, our first big activity with MREF is the Backpack Challenge, which is taking place now, running through September 16. KJT is helping MREF to raise approximately $30,000 to send 2,000+ backpacks of essential school supplies to under-resourced kids in the US and Canada.

If you’d like to support this worthy cause, please click here to donate. Your dollars will help provide those kids most in need with the tools they require to be successful in school.

Please continue reading for more facts and stats about the importance of literacy – and what happens when people don’t have access to the basic building blocks of education:

Straight Talk on Literacy

Most of the world’s ‘extremely poor’ (a state characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, according to the United Nations) lack a basic education.

Around the globe, illiteracy goes hand-in-hand with poverty, addiction and criminality – placing extreme limitations on the world’s most underserved populations, especially for young girls who are denied access to basic schooling.

However, according UNESCO, approximately 60 million people could escape poverty if all adults had just two more years of education. That’s the good news.

The challenge is that to be fully literate in today’s complex society, a person must be able to read, write, do math and use a computer. Otherwise, without the ability to effectively use the information in the world around them, individuals are unable to help themselves or their families to survive and thrive in society.

Lack of literacy contributes to the vicious cycle of generational poverty, as those living below the poverty line will also be more likely to keep their children out of school. This has a very real financial impact, as America loses around $240 billion per year from high school dropouts. Here’s why:

  • Over 75% of people on welfare are illiterate
  • Over 64% of those arrested are illiterate
  • Over 60% of convicted criminals are illiterate
  • Approximately 50% of unemployed 16-21-year-olds are illiterate
  • 85% of juvenile delinquents are not proficient at reading

Conversely, for every dollar spent on adult literacy, American society reaps $7.14 in returns – whether through increased revenues or decreased expenditures. At the individual level, education increases potential earnings by roughly 10% per each additional year of schooling.

As you can see, at both a global and national level, literacy efforts are critical. They are among the most effective ways to support communities in need – but there’s LOTS of work to do. For example, did you know that in American middle-class communities, there is an estimated 15 books per child, while in impoverished areas, there is approximately one book per every 300 children?

Providing access to education and supporting literacy are high priority community service goals at KJT. It’s why we joined the Marketing Research Education Foundation (MREF) this year and why we’re participating in the MREF Backpack Challenge right now.

As members of the research industry, we all rely heavily on data literacy and academic rigor to deliver quality insights to our customers. Every member of the KJT team understands and appreciates the role education played in our collective ability to perform those duties at a high level. So, let’s make sure all the future researchers and healthcare professionals out there have all the tools they need to succeed, starting with school supplies this fall!

Please click here to donate to the MREF Backpack Challenge – and stay tuned for more updates on the battle for literacy!