Improving Outcomes for New York City's Disconnected Youth: Lessons from the Implementation of the Young Adult Literacy Program

by Emily Terwelp; Farhana Hossain

Feb 1, 2015

In 2008, New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) launched the Young Adult Literacy (YAL) program to improve the academic and work-readiness skills of youth who are not in school, do not have a job, and have very low literacy skills. In fiscal year 2013, eight community based organizations and the city's three public library systems operated the program at 17 sites, with oversight from the Department of Youth and Community Development. The YAL program targets 16- to 24-year-old young adults who read at the fourth- through eighth grade levels, and serves them until they are academically ready to enter a program that prepares them for a high school equivalency (HSE) certificate. The year-round program offers up to 15 hours of literacy and numeracy instruction each week, along with social support services, life skills and work-readiness training, a paid internship, and some modest incentives.

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