U.S. Conference on Adult Literacy

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more literate society!

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See highlights from our 2011 conference.

View the USCAL Overview Video on YouTube

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U.S. Conference on Adult Literacy

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Coming together to confront literacy challenges—and to find solutions.

More than 700 people convened in Houston, Texas, from November 2 to November 5, 2011, to discuss the enormous challenges related to funding, changing federal policy, and a push for more evaluation and outcome measures facing the adult literacy and basic education fields.


Sponsored by ProLiteracy and 26 national partners, the United States Conference on Adult Literacy (USCAL) explored what these challenges mean for program managers, service providers, and adult learners, with a focus on how to build collaborations among adult literacy, workforce training, social service, and education programs and providers to expand and improve services. By working together, organizations across many fields can build stronger communities, establish a stronger economy, and help people find and keep jobs, lead healthier lives, and thrive socially and culturally. Join us at USCAL 2013 in Washington, D.C. Stay tuned here for additional details to come.

USCAL 2011 tackled "New Challenges, Powerful Solutions" by offering more than 121 timely workshops for adult learners, executive directors, instructors and tutors, administrators and policymakers that focused on instruction, program management, leadership, and more.

USCAL also featured ten workshop strands addressing critical issues for adult education and literacy: 

  • Advocacy: Raising awareness and advocating effectively for adult literacy work   
  • Collaboration: Creating successful collaborations and/or community linkages to expand and improve services   
  • Corrections: Improving literacy services for incarcerated adult learners and ex-offenders 
  • Global: Looking at adult literacy in global contexts 
  • Learner Leadership: Supporting learner leadership in programs, workplaces, communities, and advocacy 
  • Professional Development and Training: Models and strategies for teacher and tutor development 
  • Social Justice: Recognizing literacy as a human right and the connections between literacy, social justice, and social change 
  • Survive and Thrive: Innovative strategies for sustaining and growing adult literacy programs in tough financial times 
  • Technology: Using technology to enhance learning and digital literacy, provide new services, and solve problems   
  • Transitions: Transitioning adult learners to new learning environments, the workplace, and post-secondary education
USCAL also featured a keynote address by former first lady Barbara Bush and an opening address by Betty Anne Waters, the real-life heroine behind the movie "Conviction" starring Hilary Swank. ProLiteracy also launched its ongoing national Stand for Literacy campaign during USCAL.

USCAL Partners:

  • American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers (AALPD)
  • Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
  • Correctional Education Association
  • Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy
  • Home Builders Institute
  • Home Safety Council
  • Houston READ Commission
  • Interweave Solutions
  • Jobs for the Future (JFF)
  • Kentucky Educational Television (KET)
  • Literacy Funders Network
  • Literacy Powerline
  • Literacy Texas
  • National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN)
  • National Coalition for Literacy
  • National Forum on Information Literacy, Inc. (NFIL)
  • ProLiteracy Council of State Organizations
  • Senior Service America
  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning (TCALL)
  • The Coalition of Lifelong Learning Organizations (COLLO)
  • Voice of Adult Learners United to Educate (VALUE USA)
  • Women Expanding Literacy Education Action Resource Network (WE LEARN)
  • World Education

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Thanks to our members for their feedback, which enabled us to design the new format of USCAL with workshops to help members succeed in an era of both unprecedented demand for adult literacy and basic education services and funding cutbacks.

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