Georgetown Center on Education and the Workfoce reports that by this year, 63 percent of all U.S. jobs will require education beyond high school. Yet, nearly half of the U.S. workforce— about 88 million adults aged 18 to 64— has only a high school education or less, and/or low English proficiency. Adult education helps to close this gap and provide workers with the skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow, a key message that resonated across the countryas part of the Educate & Elevate Campaign.
For the past 14 months, the national Educate & Elevate campaign has brought together more than 55,000 adult educators to proactively educate policymakers about the importance of adult education and how it is an investment in America’s future. Leadership from the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE), 36 national-level partners, the state associations, professional development consortia and Dollar General effectively mobilized the nation in support of adult education through a campaign website, social media, communications toolkits and proactive outreach efforts.
“The Educate & Elevate campaign was created at a time when our adult education system expected a reduction of $87 million in funding,” said COABE Executive Director Sharon Bonney. “Our collective efforts resulted in more than 76,000 connections with legislators by individuals from the adult education field, resulting in a $35 million increase in funding.”
This funding is critical to individuals ages 16 and older who no longer are enrolled in school and are functioning below the high school completion level. Adult education programs not only teach these individuals the foundations of reading, math and English, they also equip learners with college and career readiness skills that lead to employment or the transition to postsecondary education.
“Adult education is a critical component to making sure America has the skilled workforce needed to compete,” said NCSDAE Executive Director and campaign partner Pat Tyler. “Surveys show that more than 90 percent of American businesses do not believe workers have the right skills; we have to ensure that all workers are ready to help employers compete.”
The campaign earned six 2017 Davey Awards for integrated campaign, its website and video. The campaign website offers education advocates tools and resources, infographics, videos, fact sheets and success stories, including a short documentary from PB'S “The Success Files.” Information about these tools, as well as how to access adult learning programs may be found here.