Philadelphia's Commission on Literacy has a new chief. She thinks illiteracy is a big factor in the city's unemployment rate.

 

Judith Renyi is leaving her post as dean at Rosemont College to lead the mayor's commission.  She said while there are plenty of opportunities for people to learn how to read, the key is convincing them to sign up.

 

"Everything about what makes us human and everything about citizenship depends on literacy," she said. "That's where it all starts and that's what gets everyone a chance to make us great in this world -- and especially to enter into a knowledge economy which is what the economy is these days."

 

Mayor Michael Nutter says he wants the city to host a nationwide literacy conference next year.

 

"Philly is not the only city that suffers from literacy challenges, but we certainly want to learn from practitioners out in the marketplace but also share some of our thoughts," Nutter said.

 

Renyi will be paid $130,000  a year for her job, which is funded by the Free Library Foundation.