Posts Tagged ‘adult education’

How Higher Education Can Support Adult Learners

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

While most people think of the typical college student as coming directly from high school, the reality is that 38 percent of college students today are 25 or older. On July 9, Higher Learning Advocates organized a panel titled Pathways to Success: Supporting Today’s Adult Students to discuss the unique challenges adult learners face in postsecondary education and potential solutions.

The panel included:

Many high school graduates enter the workforce directly instead of pursuing postsecondary education, and with today’s tight labor market, many can find high-wage employment without an advanced degree. However, as industries change and labor markets shift, workers will need additional, more specialized skills to stay competitive. Programs like the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership help adults obtain degrees and certifications so they can advance in the workforce and sustain high-wage, high-skill and in-demand employment.

Entering postsecondary education as an adult comes with challenges. One of Elias’s biggest concerns as a mother was access to not only affordable childcare, but childcare offered at times after the normal work day to accommodate her night classes. She is not alone: 26 percent of adult students are parents, and access to childcare makes it difficult to finish a degree or certification. Schedule flexibility is important even for adult students without children, as over half work while in college

So what can be done to better address the needs of adult learners? Postsecondary institutions and policymakers can create flexibility in financial aid to allow more adults to afford education. This option is part of the reason The College of Healthcare Professions is able to educate so many adult learners. Universities can also address the needs of adult learners by accepting transfer credits earned at a previous institution toward a degree or certificate. Beyond these institutional changes, there are ways to make adult students feel more included on campus with small adjustments. Making campuses feel more family friendly is a great way to get adult students integrated. This can be as simple as encouraging members to bring their family along to events hosted by different student organizations.

One of Elias’s core suggestions was mandatory career advising for students who receive any money from the federal government. This ensures students know what courses they need to take in order to graduate on time with their intended major and that federal dollars support individuals who will be career ready when they graduate. Understanding the challenges adult students face today creates space to develop solutions for a better experience in higher education.

Jordan Dreisbach, Policy Intern

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Getting to Know… Kansas

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Kansas

State CTE Director: Connie Beene, Senior Director, Adult & Career Technical Education, Kansas Board of Regents

About Kansas: The Kansas State Board of Regents (KBOR) is the state fiscal agent under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), though Perkins funds are split 50/50 between secondary and postsecondary. Interestingly, many rural districts in Kansas are too small to qualify for the minimum grant award under Perkins, so many partner with regional education service centers to apply as a consortium. This not only allows small districts to qualify for funds, but also fosters greater regional collaboration, with many education service centers providing professional development, resources and networking opportunities for the schools they serve.

Additionally, Kansas is home to a network of 26 community and technical colleges that deliver CTE to college students, adults and dual enrolled high school students.

Programs of Study: At the postsecondary level, CTE programs go through a program alignment process to validate standards, generate employer input and anchor programs in a nationally-recognized industry certification.

Under program alignment, KBOR convenes a business and industry committee specific to each field of study. The committee reviews the program’s standards and credentials and offers recommendations for alignment. Recommendations are reviewed by curriculum experts, approved by institution presidents, and, once approved, put into place across the entire community and technical college network. Programs are updated every five years.

A total of 25 programs have been reviewed, validated and modified through program alignment and are available to students statewide at Kansas community and technical colleges.

At the secondary level, Kansas recognizes the 16 national Career ClustersⓇ. In the 2015-16 academic year, CTE students concentrated in all Clusters but one: Government and Public Administration. Although secondary CTE programs do not go through the same rigorous program alignment process as postsecondary programs, state leaders in the Department of Education are working to better align programs with business and industry needs.

Notable in Kansas – Excel in CTE: One of the biggest successes for Kansas CTE is the Excel in CTE program. Launched in 2012, the program was designed to expand opportunities for CTE students to earn industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary credit in high school. The program includes four components:

  1. An incentive fund to compensate school districts for the cost of credential examinations
  2. Free tuition for high school students enrolled in technical courses
  3. A state-identified list of credentials in high-demand occupations, published annually by the Department of Labor
  4. A statewide articulation agreement to facilitate concurrent enrollment in Kansas community and technical colleges


In the 2015-16 school year alone, 10,023 students participated in Excel in CTE, earning a total of 79,488 college credit hours and 1,228 credentials.

Notable in Kansas – Adult Education: This year has seen a renewed focus on integrating adult education and skills training in Kansas. In 2012, Kansas joined the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in partnership with Jobs for the Future to help adult learners earn both high school equivalency diplomas and industry-recognized credentials. According to a program impact evaluation, the likelihood of earning a credential increased by 19 percent for students in the program.

After the success of Accelerating Opportunity, Kansas is working to sustain integrated career and basic education services through a combination of federal (through Perkins and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)) and state funds. Kansas also organized an inaugural conference this year to bring together CTE and adult education teachers from around the state to discuss and share promising practices.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

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House Democrats Introduce Alternative WIA Bill

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Democratic members of the House Education and Workforce introduced their version of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization this week. The bill, introduced by Reps. Ruben Hinojosa (TX), George Miller (CA), and John Tierney (MA), is similar to a draft WIA bill circulated in the Senate last summer. This bill is also considered an alternative to Republican WIA bills, such as Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (NC) Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act.

The Democratic bill focuses on a number of issues raised in NASDCTEc’s WIA reauthorization recommendations, including sector-based strategies, adult career pathways, direct contracting with community colleges, common measures, and One Stop infrastructure funding. More information on the bill can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Legislation
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NASDCTEc Webinar Today – Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

In today’s turbulent economy, how can adult workers best position themselves to succeed in rewarding careers in high-demand fields? Further, how can employers aid in up-skilling current employees to meet increasingly complex job demands?

To explore these questions in greater depth, we will be hosting a webinar this afternoon called “CTE: Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs.” The webinar accompanies the release of NASDCTEc’s latest issue brief of the same title.

Click here to register for today’s webinar.

When: Today – Thursday, December 8th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST

Dr. Ron Duggins, Director of the Center for Business Development at Oklahoma’s Meridian Technology Center, will discuss Meridian’s Business Incubator program and how it helps adult entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses.

Mr. Harry Snyder, Adult Workforce Development Supervisor at Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development in Ohio, will describe how Great Oaks’ Aviation Maintenance – Power Plant Technician class is preparing adults for high-demand jobs and meeting the needs of area businesses.

We hope you can join us this afternoon!

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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NASDCTEc Webinar – CTE: Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs

Monday, October 24th, 2011

In today’s turbulent economy, how can adult workers best position themselves to succeed in rewarding careers in high-demand fields? Further, how can employers aid in up-skilling current employees to meet increasingly complex job demands?

Join us for our next webinar, “CTE: Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs,” on Thursday, December 8th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, when experts from the field will help us answer these questions by describing how their programs directly and indirectly keep adult learners competitive for high-demand jobs.

Dr. Ron Duggins, Director of the Center for Business Development at Oklahoma’s Meridian Technology Center, will discuss Meridian’s Business Incubator program and how it helps adult entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses. Mr. Harry Snyder, Adult Workforce Development Supervisor at Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development in Ohio, will describe how Great Oaks’ Aviation Maintenance – Power Plant Technician class is preparing adults for high-demand jobs and meeting the needs of area businesses.

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
Click here to register for “CTE: Keeping Adult Learners Competitive for High-Demand Jobs.”

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By admin in Resources, Webinars
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New Paper Cites Strong Return on Investment for Adult Ed and Training

Monday, June 27th, 2011

In these tough economic times, how can the Career Technical Education (CTE) community band together to show the value of CTE to individuals and society? Stakeholders in education and many other fields struggle to receive support through dwindling federal or state funds because they often lack the resources or sufficient data to provide strong evidence of program efficacy.

Widely used to evaluate cost-effectiveness, return on investment (ROI) studies in education specifically aim to evaluate the connection between spending and educational outcomes. Strategies that show more efficient overall use of funds demonstrate a higher rate of return on investment.

A new policy paper from the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, an organization that advances 21st Century global education and knowledge, provides several examples of ROI studies that show a positive economic impact for adult education and training. The authors describe how increasing investments in adult education would actually save the government money by reducing societal healthcare, public assistance and incarceration costs in addition to providing direct economic benefits for individuals and society.

Read more about states and organizations that have made efforts to quantify the ROI of adult education in the full report.

By admin in Research, Resources
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House Introduces Another Short-Term CR to Avoid Government Shutdown

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Late last night Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH) introduced H.R. 1363, a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the Department of Defense though the end of September and fund the rest of the federal government for one week. If passed by the House and Senate, this bill would avoid a government shutdown when the current CR expires on April 8.

This bill proposes to cut federal programs by $12 billion below current spending levels. The Department of Education would be cut by $391 million, including $30.9 million from Adult Education State Grants. In our reading of the bill, Tech Prep appears to be safe for the time being.

But that does not mean we will stay safe. This CR once again prolongs the passage of a final spending bill that will fund the government through the end of September. Because the negotiations continue, we may still be vulnerable to cuts. This is a reminder to call your Congressman and let him or her know that value of Tech Prep and CTE in their district and state.

By admin in Legislation
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Secretary Duncan and Secretary Solis Launch First Community College Summit in Philadelphia

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis gave remarks this morning at the first of four Community College Summits. The Community College of Philadelphia hosted 150 invited guests including regional community college presidents, students, and leaders from businesses, foundations, and the government. The focus of the first summit was “Transitioning Adult Learners to Community Colleges and the Workforce.”

Secretary Duncan once again lauded community colleges, calling them the “unrecognized gem” of institutions within the education continuum. He emphasized that both 2-year and 4-year institutions cannot just focus on access, but they must also be adamant about increasing completion rates to meet President Obama’s goal for 2020 – to have the highest proportion of college graduates worldwide.

Secretary Solis noted that the role of community colleges in training healthcare workers is critical, as healthcare will continue to be one of the fastest growing sectors in need of skilled workers. Solis also pushed for stronger partnerships between community colleges and businesses to meet regional challenges.

The panelists, most from foundations or businesses, also discussed partnerships between community colleges and businesses or foundations. They focused on using leverage to stretch funding and on the necessity of quality data to back community colleges’ progress. Particular attention was paid to the use of competency-based education and contextual learning opportunities to accelerate adult learner degree attainment.

Though she did not attend the summit, Dr. Jill Biden wrote an op-ed on the topic in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

The next Community College Summit will take place on March 9th at the Lone Star Community College District in Houston, Texas.

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Adult Career Pathways Advocacy Tool

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

As the nation grapples with the economic recession, more and more adults are enrolling in some form of education or training class to upgrade or diversify their skills.  Adult career pathways offer a flexible way for adults to gain technical, academic and ESL skills that lead to a degree or credential.

Check out our latest leave behind about adult career pathways that we will use to inform legislators and their staff on the Hill about the link between CTE and adult education.  You can access a copy of it here.  This leave behind explains what an adult career pathway is, the benefits of an adult career pathway, and gives a sampling of adult career pathway programs in the states.

Please feel free to use this document to inform policymakers and legislators in your state about the benefits of CTE!

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Publications
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