An international survey found that 36 million U.S. adults have low basic literacy and numeracy skills and, on average, low basic skills are more common in the U.S. than in other countries. Low-basic skills impact employment, earnings and economic mobility. Forty percent of working low-skilled adults have earnings in the bottom fifth of income distribution in the U.S. Adult basic education (ABE) programs that are linked to employment or postsecondary education can help low-skilled adult learners advance along a career path and improve their employment and earnings.
Despite the demand for and potential of these programs, federal investments in ABE serve fewer than 2 million adults annually. These investments have declined by roughly 20 percent since 2005 and the number of individuals served has declined by 1 million (30 percent) since 2000.
This page contains reports, fact sheets, analysis and news about federal adult basic education policy, as well as recommendations for expanding access to adult basic education that is linked to employment or postsecondary education.
- Foundational Skills in the Service Sector | February 2017
- Fact Sheet: Upskill U.S. Workers to Support Economic Growth
- Fact Sheet: Adult Educators and Local WIOA Planning
- Fact Sheet: Adult Education and Middle-Skill Jobs
- Slide deck: Key Considerations for Adult Educators in Partnering with Workforce Providers and Employers (VAACE workshop, 10/21/15)
- Slide deck: How Adult Educators Can Foster Immigrant Integration: ESOL and Beyond (VAACE workshop, 10/21/15)
- Slide deck: WIOA and Adult Education: From Policy to Implementation (VAACE keynote presentation, 10/21/15)
- Federal funding for Adult Basic Education (ABE) is currently authorized under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) (beginning on page 184), also known as Title II under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.