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B. Purpose and Priorities (AEFLA)

Purpose of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. WIOA was signed into law on July 22, 2014 and replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, retaining and amending the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  WIOA brings together, in strategic coordination, the core programs of Federal investment in skill development:

  • Employment and training services for adults, dislocated workers, and youth and Wagner-Peyser employment services administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) through formula grants to states; and
  • adult education and literacy programs and Vocational Rehabilitation state grant programs that assist individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment administered by the Department of Education (DoED).

WIOA required the development of a state plan that details how the named state agencies will prepare an educated and skilled workforce and meet the workforce needs of employers. Colorado’s 4-year strategic and operational plan can be found on the Colorado Workforce Development Council website.

Purpose of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)

The purpose of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) is for grantees to expand and improve the current system of delivering adult education and literacy services through evidence-based practices and continuous improvement in order to:

  • Build career pathways providing adults with basic and secondary education to enable them to earn a high school equivalency diploma, transition into postsecondary education or training, and/or gain or advance in employment in order to achieve self-sufficiency.
  • Provide parents and guardians with sufficient skills to become full partners in the educational development of their children.

Further, AEFLA designates grantees as one-stop partners. As one-stop partners, grantees align and contribute to the one-stop delivery systems in Local Workforce Development Areas. Specifically, one-stop partners:

  • Provide access through the one-stop delivery system to such program or activities carried out by the entity, including making the career services that are applicable to the program or activities available at the one-stop centers (in addition to any other appropriate locations);
  • use a portion of the funds available for the program and activities to maintain the one-stop delivery system, including payment of the infrastructure costs of one-stop centers;
    enter into a local memorandum of understanding with the local board, relating to the operation of the one-stop system; and
  • participate in the operation of the one-stop system consistent with the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the requirements of WIOA Title I, and the requirements of the Federal laws authorizing the program or activities.

Purpose of the Adult Education and Literacy funds under AEFLA (WIOA Section 202 and 225)

The purpose of the adult education and literacy funds under AEFLA is to enable eligible providers that receive grants under the program to create local partnerships to provide adult education and literacy activities, including Adult Basic Education (ABE), Adult Secondary Education (ASE), and English Language Acquisition (ELA), in order to:

  • assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency;
  • assist adults who are parents or family members to obtain the education and skills that are necessary to becoming full partners in the educational development of their children and lead to sustainable improvements in the economic opportunities for their family;
  • assist adults in attaining a secondary school diploma education or its equivalent and in the transition to postsecondary education and training, including through career pathways; and
    assist immigrants and other individuals who are English language learners in:
    • improving their reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills in English; and mathematics skills; and
    • acquiring an understanding of the American system of Government, individual freedom, and the responsibilities of citizenship; and/or
  • provide educational programs for criminal offenders in correctional institutions and for other institutionalized individuals who are likely to leave the correctional facility within five years of participation in the program, including academic programs for:
    • adult education and literacy activities;
    • special education;
    • secondary school credit;
    • integrated education and training;
    • career pathways;
    • concurrent enrollment;
    • peer tutoring; and
    • transition to re-entry initiatives and other post-release services with the goal of reducing recidivism.

Purpose of the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education funds under AEFLA (WIOA Section 243) Grant Program

The purpose of the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) program is to:

  • Prepare adults who are English language learners for, and place such adults in, unsubsidized employment in in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency; and
    integrate with the local workforce development system and its functions to carry out the activities of the program.

Definition of individuals eligible to receive services funded by AEFLA (WIOA Section 203(4))

Funds must be used to provide adult education and literacy services to eligible individuals:

  • who have attained 16 years of age*;
  • who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law; and
  • who:
    • are basic skills deficient;
    • do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or
    • are English language learners.

In order for eligible individuals to be countable as having been served, the individual must have been pre-tested using a formalized assessment consistent with the Assessment Policy and have attained twelve (12) hours of instruction.

* WIOA Section 203(4)(B) requires that the individual is not required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law. Per §22-33-104 in the Colorado Revised Statutes, every child under the age of 17 shall attend public school for at least a certain number of hours defined in statute during each school year unless an exception has been provided under state law. Please see the Serving 16-Year-Olds section of the handbook for more information about the specific conditions under which a 16-year-old may be served.

Grant Application Funding Priorities

Focus on adult education and literacy services that prepare eligible individuals at all levels for success in postsecondary education and work through:

  • Research-based program and instructional strategies that effectively prepare and support adult learners through utilization of career pathways for transitioning to college and career;
  • Family-centered approaches and services;
  • Organizational strategies that position programs to adopt and deliver standards-based instruction; and
  • Collaboration with service providers within the Colorado Talent Development System utilizing a human-centered design approach.

U.S. Department of Education Oversight

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) oversees state-level implementation of the AEFLA grant. OCTAE conducted a targeted virtual monitoring visit specifically for the AEFLA competition October 18-19, 2018 and sent the Program Review Report on April 29, 2019. The Corrective Action Plan is complete; see the CAP Closure letter

OCTAE conducted an on-site monitoring visit November 19 – 21, 2019, monitoring performance accountability, fiscal, state leadership (professional learning) efforts and WIOA shared monitoring. OCTAE sent the Program Review Report on May 12, 2020 and the resulting Corrective Action Plan was approved in September 2020.