Adult Education for Work: Transforming Adult Education to Build a Skilled Workforce

Adult Education for Work: Transforming Adult Education to Build a Skilled Workforce

National Center on Education and the Economy and Workforce Development Strategies Group, 2009

Toolkit Purpose 

Adult Education for Work argues that the current adult education system lacks the structure, time,
curricula, and resources to prepare individuals for postsecondary education and for good jobs. Therefore, this guide provides a framework for adult education systems to adopt, expand, and include the education and training necessary for low-skilled adults to become prepared for postsecondary education and family-sustaining employment, referred to in the guide as "Adult Education for Work."

Walmart Foundation
Intended Audience 
Those stakeholders involved in program design, delivery, administration, or policy development including adult education organizations, postsecondary education and training organizations (including community colleges), career and technical education providers, Workforce Investment Boards/One-Stop Career Centers, economic development organizations, TANF agencies, and community-based providers.
Career Pathways Target Population 
Adult individuals who lack the fundamental literacy, English language, basic, and work readiness skills they need to succeed economically
Based On 
The National Commission on Adult Literacy's findings and recommendations that the adult education and literacy system in this country be transformed into an adult education and workforce skills system.
Summary of Toolkit Approach 

Generally, Adult Education for Work involves stepping up service delivery to individuals who lack the basic, language, and work readiness skills they need to succeed economically. In addition, Adult Education for Work should be part of a broader effort to build a Career Pathways system that moves low-skilled adults through workforce-oriented adult education programs and on to postsecondary programs and sustained employment. This guide offers step-by-step instructions for implementing such a program and is divided into seven focus areas, including:

- Program design;
- Curriculum and instruction;
- Assessment and credentialing;
- High-quality teaching;
- Support and follow-up services;
- Connections to the business community; and
- Monitoring and accountability systems.

In each section, the guide identifies "quality elements," for example "helping each student develop a Career Pathways plan" is a quality element of program design, based on real-life examples from innovative adult education programs, and the overall guide also includes two case studies and a self-assessment tool.

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