Department of Education Releases Guidance on Funding Innovative Adult Learning Model

Jul 01, 2010

by Marcie Foster and Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield

The Department of Education has just released guidance on how states can use funding provided under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) to support programs that combine basic skills education with occupational training.

The Department refers to these programs as integrated education and training (IET) models.

These dual or co-enrollment models provide education as well as training to increase the speed at which students  complete educational programs and earn  postsecondary certificates. Many states are considering  IET models as part of a "career pathway" effort, particularly for lower-skilled adults who may otherwise have difficulty transitioning into postsecondary education. For these states, using  a combination of federal resources, including AEFLA funds, can be critical to initial development and continued success of IET programs.

The newly released guidance clarifies the ways states can use AEFLA to support IET in conjunction with other federal funding sources without violating restrictions on the commingling of AEFLA funds. Key features of the memo include:

  • Clarification on specific activities that can be funded through AEFLA. States and localities may use AEFLA funds to support the portion of an IET program that provides instruction in reading, writing, math, and English literacy below the postsecondary level. This includes planning, developing and delivering portions of the curriculum that address basic literacy skills, but not the occupational portion. States may use state leadership funds for critical start-up activities, such as funding the adult education component of pilot IET programs, curriculum development, and employer engagement. States can use leadership funds to provide WIA incentive funding to programs that successfully coordinate training services in IET models.
     
  • Clarification on co-enrollment of adult education and literacy education participants. Participants enrolled in training services provided under Title I of WIA can be co-enrolled in adult education and literacy activities funded through AEFLA. In addition, while AEFLA prohibits adult basic education participants from being enrolled in secondary education, participants may be enrolled in credit-bearing occupational training at the postsecondary level. Though individuals may be co-enrolled, AEFLA funds may not be used for activities other than the costs of adult education and literacy activities, as specified in the statute.
     
  • Guidelines on how NRS goals for participants in IET models should be set. Each student in an IET program should set goals that align with the intent of the program in which they are participating. Depending on the design of the program, goals could include completing secondary education, transitioning to postsecondary education, or attaining or retaining employment.

This guidance from the Department of Education is an important step in the effort to bring promising local IET to scale. In the midst of state budget crises and reduced education and training allocations, states must use innovative means to support efforts to improve adult education and training for those  most in need.

CLASP has developed a funding toolkit that can help states identify even more federal resources to support career pathway and career pathway bridge programs, which often include the use of integrated curricula and contextualized learning. View Funding Career Pathways and Career Pathway Bridges: A Federal Policy Toolkit for States.

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