Adult Education Should Not Be the Best Kept Secret in Town: What is Adult Education and Why Every Educator Should Know About It

Want to discover an educational service that is making an impact in our communities that you may not know exists? Adult Education programs may just be that as K-12 and Higher Education dominate the education-related discourse we see. Discover the impact of Adult Education so it is not the best-kept secret in your community as this post explores what it is and its various programs!

Having spent most of my career in K-12 and Higher Education, I did not know much about Adult Education and the impact it was making in our communities. After now spending almost two years in my current position, I have learned A LOT about Adult Education and how it is changing the lives of students in our communities across the United States. If you are looking at where you can see the impact almost immediately as an educator, Adult Education is probably one of the only places you can see in a matter of days, weeks, or a short few months how it can impact someone’s life.

The stereotype about Adult Education is that fact that many label it as where students who need to get a high school diploma, can earn their high school diploma or GED. However, Adult Education offers so much more than these services, which is the goal of this post. Adult Education offers a wide range of classes, supports, and services to students aged 18 and above in our communities. Whether students are wanting to learn a new skill to progress their career, learn English, earn their citizenship, or become more involved in a community, there are many opportunities for anyone wanting to learn and be a part of something!

Let’s just into learning more about Adult Educations’ various programs.

Programs Within Adult Education

English as a Second Language – This program is designed to teach English language skills to adults who are not native speakers of English. It covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening, with a focus on practical language skills that can help students succeed in daily life.

US Citizenship – This program is focused on preparing non-citizen adults to become naturalized US citizens. It covers topics such as US history and government, civic responsibilities, and the English language proficiency needed to pass the citizenship test.

Adult Basic Education – This program is designed to help adults who lack basic reading, writing, and math skills to improve their literacy levels. It typically covers topics such as numeracy, reading comprehension, and writing skills, and can help learners gain confidence and improve their ability to succeed in other educational and employment settings.

Adult Secondary Education – This program is designed to help adults who did not complete high school to earn a high school diploma or equivalent credential such as the GED. It covers a range of high school-level subjects, including math, science, social studies, and English.

Career Technical Education (CTE) – This program is designed to prepare adults for employment in specific industries or career fields. It focuses on developing practical skills and knowledge related to specific careers, such as healthcare, information technology, or skilled trades.

Community Education (CE) – This program provides non-credit educational opportunities for adults to learn new skills or pursue personal interests. It can cover a wide range of topics, including health and wellness, art and culture, and personal finance, among others. Community education programs are often offered through local schools, libraries, and community centers.

Diving Deeper

Let’s dive a bit deeper into a few of these programs found in Adult Education. we will further discuss Career Technical Education and then Community Education.

Career Technical Education

CTE has many different programs and pathways such as medical, technology, and business. These programs provide hands-on training and education for adults looking to enter the workforce or advance their careers. CTE programs often partner with local businesses and industries to provide training that is directly applicable to the needs of the workforce in that area. These classes can be completed for credit for certification as well as landing a career or advancing one’s career. Many students take CTE classes to learn the foundational skills within a destinated career path before taking an entry-level position before they decide to further their career and education with more training and certification.

Community Education

Community Education, on the other hand, provides opportunities for personal enrichment and lifelong learning. These programs are often more informal and are designed to meet the needs and interests of the local community. Community Education programs can be a great way for adults to learn new skills, pursue hobbies, or connect with others who share similar interests. Learning a new language, pickle ball, cooking, knitting, technology, and coding classes can all encompass community education. Ultimately, these classes are not for credit, but definitely can make an impact in your life in a multitude of different ways!

The Impact of Adult Education

Adult Education programs have a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities. For many adults, Adult Education is a pathway to better jobs, higher wages, and more stable careers. By improving their education and job skills, students in Adult Education programs can increase their earning potential and improve their quality of life.

Beyond the individual level, Adult Education programs also have a positive impact on communities. By improving the education and skills of adults in a community, Adult Education programs can help to build stronger local economies, increase civic engagement, and improve the overall well-being of the community.

Final Thoughts

Adult Education programs may be the best-kept secret in our communities, but they shouldn’t be. These programs offer a wide range of opportunities for adults to improve their education, job skills, and quality of life. Whether you are looking to learn English, earn your high school diploma, or gain career-specific skills, there is an Adult Education program that can help you achieve your goals. Additionally, as we see artificial intelligence and technology progress, Adult Education will be a critical avenue to help retrain large portions of the population for new careers throughout their lives.

Overall, as educators, it’s important for us to recognize the value of Adult Education and promote it as an important part of our education system. By doing so, we can help more adults in our communities to achieve their full potential and build stronger, more vibrant communities for us all.

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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