Every four seconds of an American school day, another student drops out.

That's 7,000 students a day—or nearly 1.3 million a year. These alarming figures from the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, D.C. based policy institution, illustrate the problem of adult illiteracy across our country.

An under-educated adult population, combined with discouraging rates of poverty and unemployment, have generated significant social and economic challenges in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is why Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) is increasingly important to the community where we live and work.

For more than five decades, LSW has been here when motivated adult learners want to improve their education, particularly those who dropped out of school years ago. We're also here for people who come to our country and want to learn our language, or for those who want to attain a high school equivalency degree.

Our core programs—basic reading and spelling, English Language Learning (ELL), and General Educational Development (GED®) Preparation—exemplify our belief that every person has a right to an excellent education. Our unique service delivery model of one-on-one tutoring offers students individualized assistance and produces decisively positive outcomes.

In addition, our integrated Functional Literacy sub-program with three core areas—computer literacy, financial literacy, and workforce readiness—provides students with the skills needed to use technology efficiently, make smart financial decisions, and search for and secure employment.


Our Purpose

Adults face obstacles when they lack basic knowledge, education credentials, and English language skills. Access to education and training breaks down barriers and opens opportunities to provide for themselves and their families.

Our Mission

Literacy Services of Wisconsin partners with motivated adults to provide access to quality basic education and skills training so they can improve their lives, enrich their families, and strengthen our community.

Our Vision

We envision a future in which all adult learners have the tools to create success for themselves, a better future for their children and a thriving community for everyone.

Our Guiding Principles
Education: We believe that everyone can learn and has the right to a quality education.

Equality/respect: We treat every person with dignity and respect.

Engagement: We believe that by engaging community members through volunteerism we can efficiently and effectively meet the basic education and training needs of adult learners.

Quality: Working as a team, we provide volunteers and staff with the training, support, and resources necessary to ensure adult learners attain their goals.

Continuous Improvement: We are committed to providing effective programs for all types of learners. We evaluate and measure our outcomes to identify ways to improve on past successes and communicate to others.

Stewardship: We are committed to being trustworthy stewards of our human, financial, and community resources.

Partnership and Leadership: We are committed to meeting community needs. Guided by our mission, we work as partners and leaders in service to our community.


If you would like to know more about volunteering at LSW, please join us for one of our Volunteer Orientation meetings. The one hour session will introduce you to what Literacy Services is and how you can help in our mission to educate adults in Milwaukee. Our events calendar lists the dates and times of upcoming Volunteer Orientations.

If you'd like to attend a Volunteer Orientation, please email volunteer@literacyservices.org.