Brief Supporting Literacy and Numeracy Skills among Out-of-School Youth
Theresa Anderson, Lauren Eyster, Semhar Gebrekristos, Ian Hecker
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Many young people in the United States do not have the literacy and numeracy skills required to succeed in postsecondary education and training or to find gainful employment. This report presents findings from an exploratory study of strategies, approaches, and practices to support building the literacy and numeracy skills of out-of-school youth, based on a review of the literature and interviews with staff from 12 youth-serving organizations. We find that organizations interviewed are taking an individual-oriented approach to teaching literacy and numeracy, leveraging technology, and balancing various considerations in meeting young people’s needs. We conclude that increased communication and more standards of practice for youth literacy and numeracy development programs would likely be beneficial, perhaps through a professional learning community.


This report was revised November 9, 2020. On page 11, we corrected a typo in the author-date citation at the end of the first bullet. On page 19, we added a sentence to the direct quote in the first paragraph, at the respondent’s request. This small addition caused text to reflow on pages 19–23. In addition, we added a photo credit to page ii.

Research Areas Education Children and youth Workforce
Tags Workforce development Job training Work supports Youth employment and training Beyond high school: education and training Youth development
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center