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Adult Education Supports Jobs and the Economy

Getting people the basic skills and training they need to advance in education and work benefits them, their families, and the nation.

Workforce Preparation: A recent labor analysis reports that by 2018, 63% of all U.S. jobs will require at least some postsecondary education ( Other analysts warn that by 2025 there will be a shortage of 23 million college-educated adults in the U.S. workforce at current rates of production of college graduates  (the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and Jobs for the Future).

High School Diploma or Equivalent: The Center for Labor Market Studies estimates that a diploma’s contribution––including the payment of payroll, federal, and state income taxes––could amount to more than $250,000 per graduated student. In 2008-2009, 165,637 students were able to successfully achieve a GED certificate through adult education programs.

Postsecondary Completion: In order to meet the President’s goal to once again lead the world in post-secondary completion rates by 2020, we must enlist adults who have not completed college. Many adults must refresh their skills in order to get back in the education and training pipeline. In 2008-2009, 48,889 adult education students entered postsecondary education or training (National Reporting System, Table 5).

Job Retention: Educational attainment pays off in higher rates of employment as shown in the graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2008-2009, 181,766 adult education students entered or retained employment in the midst of a national recession (National Reporting System, Table 5).

What’s the Issue?

Adult education and literacy is often overlooked even though workforce preparation impacts jobs and the economy.Learn more about adult education funding and the main legislation that provides for federally-funded adult education programs. Get more facts.

What Do We Need to Do?

We need to raise awareness of adult education issues nationwide, increase access to adult education services reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act now, and make adult education and family literacy an integral part of the solution in addressing national priorities.

How Can You Help?

See what quick actions you can take now to support adult education:

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