Publication Date: April 17, 2024
Publication Location: Washington, DC
Contact: Abby Henson   |   [email protected]

World Learning’s Senior Youth Workforce Specialist Karla Yoder presented at the 2024 USAID Global Education Conference in Washington, DC, yesterday. The conference convenes the USAID education workforce from around the globe to share knowledge, experience, and evidence with the goal of making education systems resilient, equitable, and inclusive.

World Learning and the American Councils for International Education led the session “YES to UDL and Soft Skills: An Interactive Session on Curriculum Design” that showcased the Uzbekistan Youth Employment Skills (YES) program through an experiential learning event. The YES program, implemented by American Councils and World Learning, aims to equip youth with the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to Uzbekistan’s development by improving the quality of in- and after-school programming in economics, entrepreneurship, soft skills, and work readiness for secondary students.

“The session’s applied learning approach gave participants a practical demonstration of how quality teaching and learning materials, along with student-centered teaching approaches, can help young people gain foundational skills for future success,” said Yoder.

The session simulated a YES class, employing small group work and whole-class discussion followed by reflection, using a sample YES lesson. Facilitated by diverse YES team members including Deputy Chief of Party Shukhrathuja Amanov and an after-school club mentor, the session aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) implementation, interactive class activities, soft skills development, and experiential learning.

The YES program has created and is piloting an in-school economics, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship course for ninth through 11th graders, along with an after-school entrepreneurship and work readiness club for secondary school students. Teacher training has focused on experiential learning, student-centered classrooms, and UDL principles. The activity reaches 840 teachers and 31,000 learners in the pilot region of Fergana, and a randomized, controlled trial is using World Learning’s WorkLinks Skills & Values Assessment as one basis for measuring success.

“The YES program offers USAID staff a model for integrating 21st-century skills into the basic education curriculum that can be adapted elsewhere,” said Yoder. “This is challenging when the curriculum is already full and when it requires behavior change on the part of teachers. The simple structure of the YES lessons facilitates teachers trying out new ways of teaching.”

World Learning is a global nonprofit that works to create a more sustainable, peaceful, and just world through education, cultural exchange, and locally led development. Through a portfolio of nearly 100 programs, World Learning helps equip individuals and institutions with fundamental and 21st-century skills, intercultural understanding, and networks worldwide to solve today’s most pressing and complex challenges. For more information, visit