Advancing Adult Students into Careers
A Statewide Economic Imperative
At least 60% of jobs in Texas will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020. Yet, many indicators suggest that Texas is not well positioned to meet this demand:
- 19.3% of Texans over age 25 do not have a high school diploma or GED;
- 23.1% of Texas adults (3.9 million) qualify for adult education services; and
- 34.8% of Texans over the age of 5 (5.6 million) speak a language other than English at home, a common barrier to earning a postsecondary credential
Despite the fact that Texas is expanding resources for Adult Basic Education, enrollee numbers are falling, highlighting the need for a more efficient delivery of ABE. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), state and federal funding for ABE programs in Texas has increased 26 percent over the past five years ($53.4 million up to $67.3 million) while enrollment has dropped nearly 20 percent (124,297 down to 99,802). Furthermore, just 5% of GED recipients actually transition to college.
An Ambitious State Response
To respond to these pressing needs, the Texas State legislature took bold steps to invest in three programs administered by the THECB to help lower-skilled adults access and succeed in community colleges:
- The Intensive College Readiness Programs for Adult Education Students are providing a bridge to college for more than 2,100 GED recipients and high school graduates.
- The Developmental Education Demonstration Projects are implementing best practices that increase college readiness for developmental education students.
- Accelerate TEXAS programs are integrating basic skills with career and technical pathways to help adult students acquire skills and certificates in high-demand occupations.
Capitalizing on the importance of community colleges in helping the state achieve its Closing the Gaps goals, Accelerate TEXAS has awarded grants to 19 community colleges across Texas. Together, these grantees have already engaged over 2,000 adults in programs leading to certificates in the key industry sectors of health care, manufacturing, construction, and transportation.
Four Key Components
- Supporting Adult Basic Education innovation
- Building college capacity for results
- Demonstrating impact
- Informing policy
- Alamo Colleges District
- Amarillo Community College
- Austin Community College District
- Coastal Bend College
- College of the Mainland
- El Centro College
- El Paso Community College
- Hill College
- Houston Community College
- Laredo Community College
- Lone Star Community College District
- San Jacinto College
- South Texas College
- Southwest Texas Junior College
- Tarrant County College District
- Texas State Technical College-Harlingen
- Tyler Junior College
- Victoria College
- Wharton County Junior College
- The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), which provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system and funds this initiative.
- JFF, which provides technical assistance, policy support, and strategic advice and communications.
- Texas State University-San Marcos, which provides statewide program evaluation and peer learning support to grantees