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Adult Education and Literacy: An Essential Investment in Colorado in 2014

Colorado is the only state that does not set aside state dollars for Adult Education!

Adults with no High School credential
10.1% of Colorado’s workforce is not prepared for post-secondary education or middle-skill jobs. 1
Adults who do not speak English
3% of adult working population, some with post-secondary credentials, cannot fill available jobs in critical sectors. 2
Colorado High School Seniors not graduating “on-time”
24.6% of the 2012 graduating class requires remediation not available in the CO Higher Education system. 3

Yet only 3% (10,8124) of those that would benefit from services were able to enroll in 2012! 4

Additional economic impact of underfunding Adult Education programs includes:

  • Significantly higher unemployment (14% for those w/no H.S. credential, only 8% for those w/Associate’s degree) 5
  • Lower taxable income and increased social services (each non-graduate costs CO $524,000 - lifetime average) 6
  • Increased recidivism and lower employment rate upon release for inmates w/out academic or vocational training. 7
  • 34% of Colorado’s children in non-English immigrant families live in poverty and 11% suffer extreme poverty, reducing K-12 academic success and increasing dropout rates. 8

Adult Education programs fill critical education gaps between High School and Higher Education with services that:

  • Provide literacy and numeracy training (Increasing service to include those no longer served by community colleges due to recent cutbacks.)
  • Prepare Coloradans to be job-ready for middle-skill careers (those requiring more than high school yet less than university degrees; currently a critical need in Colorado’s workforce.)
  • Collaborate with Workforce centers and function as pathways to post-secondary opportunities
  • Connect families with vital resources to stop the cycle of poverty and incarceration
  • Educate citizens so they can make informed civic, financial, and health care decisions
  • Incorporate the National Common Core Standards to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce.

Without appropriate funding, instructional offerings are limited, program wait lists are long, and critical industry sectors continue to hire from out-of-state due to lack of skilled workers!

Commissioned by the Colorado Adult Education Professional Association

  1. “State Data Snapshot” Working Poor Families Project, 

  2. “Tapping the Potential: Profile of Adult Education Target Population” Office of Vocational and Adult Education, 

  3. Colorado Department of Education, “Graduates and Completers by District” 

  4. CO Adult Education System of Accountability and Reporting (CAESER), FY2012. 

  5. Jones, Rich and Frank Waterous, “Opportunity Lost: 2010 Update.” The Bell Policy Center. Denver, CO 

  6. “Start with the Facts” A+ Denver 2011. 

  7. “Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook”, Rand Corporation. 2013. 

  8. “Investing in a Bright Future for All of Colorado’s Kids” Colorado Children’s Campaign. 2011.