The initiative came about in response to the sizable population of adults in Akron and Summit County who lacked basic literacy skills. The literacy project became a member of Laubach Literacy in 1982, joining the largest volunteer-based adult reading program in the United States. In 1984, through a cooperative effort of the Altrusa Club, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, and interested citizens, the Summit County Adult Literacy Council was formed.
In 1986, the council received not-for-profit status 501(c)(3) and was incorporated in 1987. In 1990, it became a program of the Ohio Department of Education’s Adult Education Division, and in 1991 gained affiliation with the United Way of Summit County. In 1993, the council officially changed its name to Project Learn of Summit County.
In 2005, Project Learn received an increase in funding from the Ohio Department of Education to expand its service base. In 2007 and 2008, the agency was selected as one of five programs in the country by ProLiteracy of America through its Dollar General Program Accountability Initiative for its outreach and accountability efforts.
In 2009, Project Learn became an adult basic education program funded by the Ohio Board of Regents now the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The agency offers the entire literacy and adult education continuum of services from teaching adults to read to helping them pass the GED® exam. Project Learn is the Official GED® Testing Center for Summit County. All services are provided free of charge.
From tutoring students in a church basement, to now serving thousands of students in need of literacy, GED®, ESOL, post-secondary, and career preparation services, Project Learn has grown to become one of the largest community-based adult basic education programs in Northeast Ohio.