The House Adult Literacy Caucus aims to bring federal-level attention to adult education and family literacy and promote local, national, and global adult literacy initiatives. The Caucus calls attention to the connections between adult literacy and national priorities such as health, employment, and digital equity.
During the 111th Congress, NCL worked with Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) and Representative Dan Maffei (D-NY) to build a formal bipartisan network of Members of Congress that could advocate for increased investments in and expansion of adult education and family literacy. The House Adult Literacy Caucus was formed in 2010, with Representative Roe and Representative Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) serving as co-chairs. During the 114th Congress, upon Representative Hinojosa’s retirement, Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) became co-chair.
In announcing the formation of the Caucus, Congressman Roe said,
“As we continue to try to get our nation’s economy back on track, the need for educating and training adults who have been out of school for years will become more and more important to adapt to changing workforce demands. I am hopeful that through the Adult Literacy Caucus we will be able to give voice in Congress to those who need additional help and education.”
The need remains great in 2021, as the nation seeks solutions to the employment disruptions and health crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 43 million U.S. residents have low literacy and numeracy skills, and the National Skills Coalition reports that “tens of millions…have very limited or no digital skills.” These adults have difficulty obtaining, understanding, and using health information, impeding their ability to make good health decisions and increasing the likelihood that they will incur higher health care costs. In addition, their low literacy, numeracy, and digital skill levels can mean that they are unable to participate effectively in workplace literacy and job training opportunities that lead to greater employment eligibility.
Adult education provides the foundation for addressing these challenges. NCL works with House Adult Literacy Caucus members to ensure that they are aware of adult education solutions that research has validated and have current information that demonstrates the return on investment in adult education and family literacy.
Adult Literacy Caucus Members, 117th Congress
- John Yarmuth (KY-3), Co-Chair
- Yvette Clarke (NY-9)
- Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
- Charlie Crist (FL-13)
- Rosa DeLauro (CT-3)
- Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
- Mike Doyle (PA-18)
- Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7)
- Raul Grijalva (AZ-3)
- Hank Johnson (GA-4)
- Jim Langevin (RI-2)
- Jerry McNerney (CA-9)
- Gregory Meeks (NY-5)
- Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
- David Price (NC-4)
- C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (MD-2)
- Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)
- John Sarbanes (MD-3)
- Paul Tonko (NY-20)
- [currently open], Co-Chair
- Joe Wilson (SC-2)
How to Help
You can help by asking your Member of Congress to join the House Adult Literacy Caucus. House Members can join by contacting Walker Robinson (Yarmuth) at firstname.lastname@example.org. For reference, here is a copy of the invitation to join [Dear Colleague Letter].