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National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Amplifies Industry Achievements in Upskilling the Workforce

Sharon Bonney, CEO of COABE, in a suit, smiling at the camera

Sharon Bonney, CEO of COABE

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2023 image

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2023

Coalition on Adult Basic Education logo


Low-cost programs offer high value gains for wide variety of adult learners, including High School Equivalency (HSE) and job training seekers.

More than 51.4 million Americans can’t read or write at the most basic level while 75.1 million lack basic math skills...”
— Sharon Bonney, CEO, COABE
BRADENTON, FL, USA, September 7, 2023/ -- This year’s National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (AEFL), September 18 – 22, 2023, includes in-person and virtual convenings of adult learners, community partners, business leaders, legislators, and friends of adult education to celebrate achievements in the field as well as to connect with legislators on the continuing need to increase adult education programs. Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, Amy Loyd, will kick-off the week with a welcome message and discussion with Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) leadership.

Adult education programs in the United States are funded through the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (AEFLA/WIOA), a federal law that aims to provide funding for various workforce development programs, including adult education that serves as a pipeline to the community college system for students.

The AEFLA/WIOA programs offer extensive services, such as basic education, English language instruction, High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation, transition to postsecondary, and job training. The funding provided ensures that these programs are accessible to individuals who may not have the financial means to pursue education and training on their own.

"More than 51.4 million Americans can’t read or write at the most basic level while 75.1 million lack basic math skills, as well as the credentials and skills necessary to succeed in post-secondary education and the workforce," noted Sharon Bonney, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. "This is just one reason why adult education is so vital to our economy!”

Throughout Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, a variety of resources will be available including the unveiling of a new campaign and toolkit showcasing the value of High School Equivalency (HSE) credentials for the Adult Education System, adult learner showcases, legislative briefings, direct advocacy, and the Legislative Champions awards, honoring legislators who work to ensure funding and visibility for WIOA Title II funding for their contributions.

Shaketta Thomas, COABE's board president, quoted the American Action Forum which estimates that America is short an approximately 7.5 million private sector workers across all skill levels, noting that Adult Education programs contribute to solving these challenges by helping Americans move along the continuum in their educational journey to achieve basic skills and get prepared for career and college.

The adult education system delivers programs and is accessible through a variety of organizations, including community-based nonprofits, adult secondary schools, community colleges, and school districts. These programs also often provide digital equity services, teaching adult learners how to use computers and build digital skills.

Bonney also cited that Adult Education programs in high schools and adult schools, community colleges and community centers offer low cost, high value programs that upgrade the skill set of our citizens, including providing the High School Equivalency diploma to more than 75,000 learners annually.

About COABE: COABE’s mission is to inspire educators so adults succeed and communities thrive. We provide leadership, professional development, advocacy, and communication services that encourage greater consciousness and cultural competency in our interactions with teachers, administrators, adult learners, and our partners. We are committed to using our platform and influence to celebrate, engage with, and listen to all adult education communities and diverse voices of our field. Learn more at

Anika Jackson
Full Capacity Marketing, Inc.
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