Issue #9, July 7, 2010

Each issue of the E-News reports on CAAL's programs and publications, including follow-up activities related to the National Commission on Adult Literacy. Occasional feature articles are offered, along with news about complementary work by other groups.

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In This Issue:
  • Five National Groups Join in WIA Reauthorization Letter
  • New Policy Brief on Longitudinal Data Collection
  • CAAL Convenes Adult Ed Certification/Credentialing Roundtable
  • Web Demand High for Reach Higher, America and CAAL Reports
  • CAAL Visits DC Policymakers on Behalf of National Commission
  • GED Testing Service Issues First GED Outcomes Report
  • Guiding Developmental Math Students to Campus - New from MDRC
  • Supporting the President's Workforce & Graduation Initiatives - NCSDAE Vol. II
  • Adult ESL Teacher Credentialing and Certification Table - CAELA
  • Building Career Pathway Bridge Programs: An Exemplary Model in Illinois

arrowOn May 26, five national leadership organizations sent a joint letter to the Senate WIA reauthorization committee. Groups joining CAAL in the exercise were the Center for Law and Social Policy (DC), Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (Ann Arbor), Jobs for the Future (Boston), and National Skills Coalition (DC). They made specific recommendations in three priority areas: giving adult education a stronger workforce and postsecondary emphasis: rethinking the purposes of Title II, and suggesting ways to align states more closely with Title I and II programs.

arrowOn May 27, CAAL issued a new Policy Brief called Longitudinal Data Collection in Career Pathways Programs: Core Indicators and Elements.This four-page document by Forrest Chisman, Garrett Murphy, James Parker, and Gail Spangenberg gives examples of core indicators and elements of data collection in longitudinal career pathways programs. It begins "The goal of any career pathways program is to provide low-skilled individuals with the education and training they need to move from their present level(s) of skills and abilities to the level(s) required to hold family-supporting jobs...".

arrowOn June 22, CAAL held an invitational Roundtable on Certification and Credentialing of Adult Education Teachers. CAAL Senior Vice President Forrest Chisman moderated the day-long meeting which included two detailed presentations and discussion of key issues by 17 experts drawn from a broad range of state and national institutions. Barbara Gibson and George Bailey, special presenters from the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, described the Virginia Certifications system as an example of a major state model. Cristine Smith of the Education Department of the University of Massachusetts talked about some of the research issues and unexpected findings that came up in the process of developing background material for CAAL. The group discussed problems with existing teacher certification systems, if and how new systems should be developed and administered, the goals and priorities of new systems, costs, immediate next steps, and other concerns in the field. CAAL will publish a report on the findings by fall and announce its availability in an upcoming E-News issue.
arrowTracking information for The National Commission on Adult Literacy and CAAL websites shows strong continuing interest in the Commission's final report, Reach Higher, America, and in recent related CAAL reports. Since January 2010, more than 1800 copies of the final report were downloaded and many times that number of web users reviewed the report online. There is also strong interest in CAAL's publications generally. The two most popular reports between January and May were FINDINGS IN ESL: A Quick Reference to Findings of CAAL Research on ESL Programs at Community Colleges and THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM ADULT LEARNING: Expanding Access to Adult education & Workforce Skills Through Distance Learning. 
In May, a CAAL team representing the recommendations of the National Commission on Adult Literacy
 made another round of visits to key Capitol Hill policymakers to discuss the status of WIA reauthorization, including incorporation of the Adult Education and Economic Growth Act, and to offer assistance as this legislation goes forward. Further visits will take place in the coming weeks.

Many organizations and individuals at the national and state level are working diligently to bring new definition and purpose to adult education and workforce skills development. In one way or another they aim to develop services for low-skilled adults in ways that will build pathways to higher education, job training, and jobs that pay a self-sustaining wage. Yet, politics and economic belt-tightening keep shifting the priorities, sometimes making it hard to know just how seriously federal and state policymakers really take the enormous adult education challenge facing the nation. Do policymakers have the will to tackle the challenge, despite the hard economic choices and trade-offs they will have to make? The nation's future may well depend on it.
Various federal actions have been taken recently to stimulate the economy to benefit job holders and seekers. But without suitable adult education programs to lift up the basic and employability skills of many millions of adults in the workforce, thus qualifying them for the further education that new jobs increasingly require, the desired economic outcomes will fall far short. And employers are already having trouble finding adequately skilled workers in the pool available for hire.
The Perfect Storm, Reach Higher, America, and reports by CLASP, Jobs for the Future, and several other national voices have conveyed this set of messages clearly over the past few years. Now, a new report by Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl adds a powerful voice.
HELP WANTED: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018 is rich in analysis and findings.  Here are just a few of the conclusions, broadly stated:
  • There is a growing mismatch between the jobs that will be created over the next decade and the education and training of our workers.

  • Hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been destroyed by the recession and through outsourcing will not come back, and another 1.4 million jobs in certain industries will be permanently lost in the coming decade.

  • The new jobs that are coming in this restructured environment will not look like the old ones and they will require employees with some postsecondary education and preparation.

  • By 2018, the economy will have created 43.8 million new jobs (some brand new, others replacements for jobs once held by retired workers). Some 63 percent of these new jobs will require workers with at least some college education.

  • Postsecondary education and training is fast becoming the most viable path to the American middle class.

  • Education and training for emerging jobs relates more to occupations and less directly to specific industries.
The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major news sources have featured this important 111-page report, released in June 2010. It is must reading for adult education and workforce development planners at all levels, available online from 


One out of every four new workers in the U.S. will be an immigrant from Latin America during the coming decade. Most will not speak English very well.  Promoting the advancement of Hispanic immigrant workers in the American workplace was the focus of a May 26 policy workshop in Washington sponsored by The Partnership for America's Workforce -- an alliance of the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW), Excelencia in Education, the Lumina Foundation, and the Council for Workforce Education (CWE). The meeting was held at the National Association of Manufacturers. The event focused on the latest research, talks by a panel of employers, presentations by the sponsoring members, and the related policy implications.
Jeffrey Passell of the Pew Hispanic Center discussed demographic changes of young Hispanics as a percentage of population relative to different geographic areas in the country, participation rates of these adults in the labor force, and their lack of secondary and postsecondary education to succeed in today's knowledge-based economy.
Kysha Frazier of CSW and Deborah Santiago of Excelencia presented an overview of the research findings in Building Tomorrow's Workforce: Promoting the Education & Advancement of Hispanic Immigrant Workers in America. This 50-page report, written by Mary Gershwin, Tammy Coxen, Brian Kelley, and Gary Yakimov was funded by the Lumina Foundation. It explores promising employer/community college partnerships that expand access to higher education and benefit low-skilled new-immigrant Hispanics, and offers a number of recommendations for practice and policy. For example, work should be identified as an "asset to expanding access to postsecondary education, not as a barrier." Policies should recognize the potential of the workplace as "a new gateway to basic skills and higher education."
Gabriela Lemus of the U.S. Department of Labor spoke on workforce and immigration policy implications. Employer panelists described their own programs and experiences and identified 12 policy issues needing follow up -- for example, articulation of certifications, promoting industry certification models, and providing educational credit for work skills.
CAAL's Jim Parker spoke about the National Commission on Adult Literacy and CAAL's related policy work, including how an improved Adult Education and Economic Growth Act (with employer tax credits) could address many of the group's issues and concerns, the need for a reformed NRS/data system, the critical need for comprehensive state planning and goal setting, and development of technology for planning.
In the coming weeks, the Partnership for America's Workforce will release summaries of the Roundtable presentations; several participant interviews will be included in the video montage. For more information, 704-307-2132,  

 arrowFor adults who don't finish high school, the GED credential can be an important bridge to postsecondary education, but questions remain about how successful that transition actually is.  The American Council on Education is in the midst of a three-year study on the effect a GED credential has on postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion. The first year's findings are summarized in Crossing the Bridge: GED Credentials and Postsecondary Educational Outcomes, a 64-page report by Margaret Becker Patterson, Jizhi Zhang, Wei Song, and Anne Guison-Dowdy.
arrowIn March, MDRC released Guiding Developmental Math Students to Campus Services: an Impact Evaluation of the Beacon Program at South Texas College. This is the fourth report in its continuing evaluation of exemplary community college programs under its Achieving the American Dream Initiative funded by the Lumina Foundation. The report evaluates the Beacon mentoring program designed by South Texas College. The program targets 2,000 students in remedial math programs to help them persist and succeed by pairing them with college employee mentors. Read the executive summary or the full report
arrowIn January, the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE) issued Volume II of Adult Education: Supporting the President's Workforce and American Graduation Initiatives. Together with Volume I, published in November 2009, the report responds to President Obama's challenge to education providers to help adults attain at least one year of higher education or career preparation. Volume I dealt with promising practices in certain states addressing workforce needs. Volume II uses the Quality Elements of Adult Education for Work Programs (NCEE, 2009) as a framework for decisions points being addressed by state adult education programs across the country. It profiles exemplary programs in 43 states.
 arrowA new Adult ESL Teacher Credentialing and Certification Table, by Jodi Crandall of the University of Maryland (Baltimore County) and Jacqueline Lopez of the Center for Applied Linguistics, supplements a January 2008 Brief by Crandall et al for CAL's Center for Adult English Language Acquisition. The updated Brief is written for program administrators, education researchers, and policymakers who strive to professionalize the adult ESL workforce.
arrowHow to Build Bridge Programs That Fit Into a Career Pathway is new from the Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, written by Ricardo A. Estrado. This 52-page paper is a step-by-step guide to developing successful pathway ESL and ABE programs for low-skilled adults. The guide is based on a partnership that includes the National Council of La Raza, the Instituto del Progreso Latino, the Association House of Chicago, the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center of Wilbur Wright College, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Joyce Foundation (which introduces the publication) is also a partner, though its visionary Shifting Gears initiative.

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In the 10 years since we began, we have published more than three dozen major reports, sponsored over a dozen task force and Roundtable meetings (on ESL, community college transitions, workforce readiness, and other topics), and spearheaded the National Commission on Adult Literacy. We remain dedicated to ensuring that the recommendations in Reach Higher, America translate into legislation, new thinking, and innovative projects across the country. Like all nonprofits we depend solely on grants and individual donations.

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