Over 13.6M awarded to promote adult education access in Michigan

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – In an effort to improve access to adult education programs, 97 organizations have been awarded Adult Education programs and Family Literacy Act funding. According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), this represents an increase of nearly 13% in approved providers in comparison to last year.

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Michigan residents will have improved access to adult education programs as 97 organizations have been awarded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funding to support adult education and literacy programs throughout the state.

LEO awarded the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title II funding, which totals more than 13.6 million for the 2020-2021 program year. This funding is part of a competitive grant application process and funds are awarded annually to state agencies by the U.S. Department of Education.

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This announcement coincides with National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, celebrated September 21-25. It functions as a time to raise awareness about the importance of Adult Education and increase visibility for the work of teachers, administrators, and adult learners.

According to the press release, the expansion of adult education aligns with Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030.

“There’s a strong correlation between educational attainment and income,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, LEO’s Director of the Office of Employment and Training. “Supporting programs that allow adults to make meaningful educational progress creates pathways to better jobs and financial stability for workers and their families. It also helps address the skills gap that challenges the success of Michigan businesses and our state’s prosperity.”

The 97 adult education providers across the state approved for AEFLA funding represent a net increase of 11 providers and includes providers of General Instruction, Institutional and/or Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education.

New grantees for this program year are ACCESS, SER Metro Detroit, St. Vincent Sarah Fisher and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit in Metro Detroit, Center for Higher Educational Achievement in Flint and Refugee Development Center in Lansing.

The state’s commitment to Adult Education also includes the Futures for Frontliners initiative, which was formally launched by Gov. Whitmer on September 10. It is the nation’s first program offering tuition-free college to an estimated 625,000 Michiganders who provided essential, frontline services during COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April to June 2020.

Futures for Frontliners offers Michigan adults without college degrees or high school diplomas who provided essential services during the pandemic a tuition-free pathway to gaining the skills needed to obtain high-demand, high-wage careers. The funding is available to essential workers in healthcare, manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, sanitation, delivery, retail and more.

Frontline workers are encouraged to visit Michigan.gov/Frontliners to review eligibility requirements, explore options, and get started on their application – even if they don’t already have a high school diploma.

Expanded access to Adult Education and the Futures for Frontliners initiative support the state’s “Learn More, Earn More” efforts to provide opportunities for adults to improve education levels – especially in math, reading or writing – obtain a high school credential, or become better English speakers. A better educated workforce benefits workers, employers and Michigan communities.

For more information about Adult Education in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/LearnMoreEarnMore.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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