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The Office of Adult Education Initiatives was established to provide support and leadership to the field of adult basic education in Colorado. To that end, AEI administers three funding opportunities: the federally funded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) grant, the state funded Adult Education Literacy Act (AELA) grant of 2014 and the state Workforce Diploma Pilot Program (WDPP) of 2019.
Each grant provides funding and support to local agencies serving adult learners across Colorado. CDE is committed to understanding the needs of our adult learners in Colorado, analyzing needs for services, and determining if there are ways to help fill those gaps as we work with our partner agencies and organizations. We are in a challenging budget and economic situation in the state, so it will be even more important to understand the needs of adult learners given the impacted economy and workforce. As a partner in this work, CDE is committed to working with the entire field of adult education providers to support adult learners. To that end, the office maintains a list of other potential adult education funding sources.
Adult Education and Family Literacy Act
The federally-funded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act was reauthorized as Title ll of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in July 2014. The federal program provides formula funding to state agencies that distribute funds as grants to local adult education programs. Allowable services include adult basic and secondary education and English language acquisition in many contexts: foundational literacy, high school equivalency, family literacy, integrated English literacy and civics education, workforce preparation, workplace education, and integrated education and training.
CDE conducted an AEFLA grant application process from February - June 2020. The current AEFLA grant cycle is from July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2024. The following organizations are current AEFLA grantees:
Asian Pacific Development Center
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Community Educational Outreach
Durango Adult Education Center
Jeffco Schools Adult ESL and Literacy
Mesa County Adult Learning Center
Metropolitan State University Family Literacy Program
Montrose Adult Education Center
Northeastern Junior College
Pikes Peak Library District Adult Education
School District 11 Adult & Family Education
The Learning Source
Trinidad State Junior College Adult Education Services
Adult Education and Literacy Act
The Adult Education and Literacy Act of 2014 (HB 14-1085) is a state-funded Adult Workforce Partnership Initiative, administered by the Colorado Department of Education. The Act established the Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Grant Program that awards state funds for public and private nonprofit adult education and literacy programs that serve as lead agencies and fiscal agents for Adult Workforce Partnerships that must consist of at least one local education provider, one postsecondary education or training provider and one adult workforce development partner. CDE conducted a grant application process in 2017. The current AELA grant cycle is from July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2021.
2020-2021 Adult Literacy and Education Grant Update
The Expand Adult Education Grant Program (SB20-009) was signed into law on July 8, 2020 and builds on the original Adult Education and Literacy Act of 2014 (HB 14-1085). Before passage of the act, the adult education and literacy grant program was focused on workforce development partnerships to provide adult education that leads to increased levels of employment. The act recognizes that, in addition to increasing employment, adult education is necessary to ensure an adult population that is better prepared to support the educational attainment of the next generation and actively participate as citizens in a democratic society.
The act expands the grant program to provide grants to adult education providers that enter into an education attainment partnership with elementary and secondary education providers or higher education providers to assist adults in attaining basic literacy and numeracy skills that lead to additional skill acquisition and may lead to postsecondary credentials and employment and that assist adults in providing academic support to their own children or to children for whom they provide care. The act allows the State Board of Education, in awarding grants, to give preference to adult education programs that serve populations that are underserved by federal funding.
CDE is fully committed to implementing the legislation as quickly as possible. Because the bill makes adjustments to things such as eligibility criteria, application requirements and award priorities, the State Board of Education needs to amend its current rules for the grant program. The law also requires the State Board of Education to develop rules for the program: “The state board, in accordance with the "State Administrative Procedure Act", article 4 of title 24, shall promulgate rules to implement the grant program…” (C.R.S. 22-10-104(1)(b)). To be consistent with state law around the administrative process, rulemaking will take a few months (see the Rulemaking webpage for more details about the rulemaking process). Once the rules are finalized, CDE will release a Request for Applications. The goal is to release the Request for Applications in January 2021.