NCFL joins national collaboration in support of adult learners and their families

NCFL is excited to have joined the Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network (ALL IN). Together with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and a national group of 13 literacy-focused organizations, ALL IN is leading efforts to implement the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy to elevate the issues surrounding adult literacy and learning.

When parenting adults are equipped with skills, knowledge, and supports to fulfill their educational and career goals, their families thrive. But for many households in America, adults are struggling. The numbers are alarming—nearly one in five U.S. adults reads at a third-grade level or lower and more than 54% of adults struggle with low literacy skills in reading, writing, numeracy, and digital literacy[1]. The challenge is pervasive and far-reaching, impacting a person’s ability to navigate jobs and access public services and systems like healthcare, education, and social supports. Not only does low adult literacy affect individual and family well-being and prosperity, but it is of national consequence. Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup, estimates that if all adults attained the literacy skills equivalent to the sixth grade level, the U.S. could generate $2.2 trillion more for our economy—that’s 10% of the GDP[2]!

The need is great, but the opportunities and potential that the ALL IN collaboration brings could lead to exponential impact on adults, families, and children all across this country.

“NCFL is proud to be part of ALL IN to address an issue of critical importance to the livelihoods of families across the nation,” says Dr. Felicia C. Smith, president and CEO of NCFL. “When we support parenting adults with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to be leaders in their communities, as well as create family-centric policies and systems, families can change the trajectory of their lives, positively impacting generations to come.”

In February, ALL IN’s coordinating council held a virtual update meeting. Leaders from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, World Education, Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), TESOL, ProLiteracy and NCFL shared the rationale for ALL IN and our collective priority areas for 2023:

  1. Increase awareness of adult literacy needs and advocate for change.
  2. Improve quality of adult literacy programs through data-driven, technology-enabled research and development. 
  3. Expand access to needs-based adult literacy programs and services. 
  4. Develop and implement a comprehensive funding strategy to support ALL IN initiatives and affiliated projects.

Watch a replay of the webinar to learn more.

Bipartisan support for ALL IN

Also in February, we joined ALL IN and Engage, a bipartisan women’s organization, in celebrating an important milestone for addressing Priority 1—the launch of a new U.S. Senate Caucus on Adult Literacy. Co-chaired by Sen. Susan Collins (ME) and Sen. Jack Reed (RI), the goal of the caucus is to raise awareness of the issues surrounding adult literacy and to promote policies and solutions aimed at improving it. Other members of the Caucus include Senators Bill Cassidy (LA), Ben Ray Luján (NM), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Alejandro Padilla (CA), Tina Smith (MN) and Todd Young (IN).

As Sarah Cacicio, director of ALL IN, puts it, “Literacy is everyone’s issue.” We need all hands on deck! When we strengthen family literacy and learning opportunities in communities, we create the stimulus for transformation and equity across the country. To get involved in ALL IN, visit


[1]National Action Plan for Adult Literacy 2021. (2021, October 20). Retrieved February 21, 2023, from   

[2]Rothwell, J. (2020, September 8). Assessing the Economic Gains of Eradicating Illiteracy Nationally and Regionally in the United States. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from