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Celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

Dear Adult Educators,

I wanted to reach out to join you and our nation in celebrating National Adult Education and Family Literacy week. This week calls us to highlight the life-changing difference that adult education programs are making in communities across America. It also calls us to invite stakeholders from community and business leaders to policy makers at all levels to join us in this imperative work.

Today we know that there are an estimated 51 million adults from all walks of life that struggle with basic academic skills. Learners who struggle to read, do math, solve problems and use technology are ill-equipped to enter – much less compete in – the global economy. That’s why you do what you do – for them, and for our nation’s future. We are called to ensure learners have more pathways to lifelong learning and career success.

The economic payoff for adults who gain higher skills is greater in the U.S. than in almost any other industrialized country. In the U.S., one level math gain equates to a 28 percent hourly wage gain. Our nation – our economy and our society – simply can’t operate at full capacity without adult education programs and partnerships with local, regional, state workforce partners.

That is why I want to offer my thanks to each of you that have found innovative and creative ways to continue impacting learners even in the midst of this pandemic. I know that many of you quickly moved from face to face instruction to Facebook, Skype, and Zoom to meet the needs of your learners!

Where virtual, distance and hybrid learning may be a new environment for some of you, I am pleased to announce that our Division of Adult Education and Literacy has contracted with World Education and the EdTech Center to develop self-paced professional learning micro-courses to support teacher development in the area of distance and blended education. Join us for a webinar on Tuesday, September 29th at 1 p.m. EST  to learn more about the micro courses, which will be available on the Ed Tech Center website in the near future free of charge and linked to the LINCS Resource Collection.

I am also excited to share that this month, we also kicked off the Integrated Education and Training (IET) Design Camps pilot. These camps assist state and local teams in using a curated design toolkit to improve and expand current IET offerings. Look for your opportunity to participate in early 2021.

Also, this month we continue our work with 18 states participating in the Teaching Skills that Matter Cohorts. This work assists states in placing an emphasis on the increased need for digital literacy & digital fluency in relation to the essential skills and employability skill-sets learners will need post- COVID-19 pandemic.

And, last but not least, in recognition of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, we look forward to announcing the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge later this week to strengthen the role of adult education in preparing learners for apprenticeships and beyond.

As you can see there is much to be excited about and celebrate even in the midst of these unprecedented times. I wish each of you safety and success as you continue to provide your learners the right knowledge and skills, at the right time, for the right next step in their career and life. Happy National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

Scott Stump

Assistant Secretary

Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education

United States Department of Education