(BLOOMINGTON) – With reskilling and upskilling programs in place, adult education is an economic catalyst to help adults and their communities recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adult education programs provide numerous options for participation, including working from home or receiving inperson instruction.
Monroe County Community Schools Adult Education joins more than 65,000 adult educators in “Moving Ahead with Adult Ed,” a new national campaign to enroll adult learners into programs that equip them with skills that lead to high school equivalency and jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage.
Millions of Americans are out of work or underemployed and need to reskill or upskill to re-enter the workforce or pursue their education. The pandemic has exacerbated the need for services.
MCCSC’s adult education program is currently providing instruction both in-person and online during morning, afternoon, and evening hours. CDC guidelines and sanitation protocols are in place for in-person instruction to ensure a safe learning environment.
An international study indicated approximately 43 million working-age Americans lack the skills needed for many of the nation’s fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Census, there are over 22 million adults in the U.S. without a high school diploma.
“Adult education provides on-ramps to better jobs and postsecondary education and training,” said Robert Moore, MCCSC’s director of adult education. “With adult education, the infrastructure is in place to reskill and upskill Americans, and not only get them back into the workforce, but get them into better jobs than they had before the pandemic.”
“In Indiana, now is a particularly ideal time for Hoosiers to participate in their local adult education programs,” Moore added. “The high school equivalency test is free of charge until December 30, 2020, thanks to the decision of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to use some of Indiana’s CARES Act funding for that purpose. Also, we have a Workforce Ready Grant to provide free, short-term training in high-wage, in-demand occupations. So far, we have had 49 adults in the training classes we’ve offered in our program since July 1 with that grant. Finally, an Employer Training Grant will pay for costs of training and upskilling new hires as well as current employees.”
Employers and job seekers can apply for those grants at www.nextleveljobs.org.
Campaign partners Coalition on Adult Basic Education and the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education also estimate that for every dollar invested in adult education, a community receives $60 back in increased income, property taxes and savings on public assistance and legal-system expenses.
The #MovingAheadWithAdultEd campaign focuses on re-engaging the millions of Americans who need additional skills to compete in the workforce to recover financially from the pandemic. In addition to providing industry skills training, adult education programs like MCCSC’s teach literacy, numeracy and digital literacy, and offer high school equivalency, English language learning, and adult high school diploma classes.
In Monroe County, approximately 500 people are enrolled the school corporation’s adult education program each year.