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Adult Education Programs Awarded $6.9 Million in Grants

Programs Put Adult Learners on Career Pathways by Aligning Education to Workforce Development


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today awarded $6.9 million in grants to support high-quality adult education programs. These programs are aligned to the state’s overall education and workforce development strategies, and funding will open up opportunities for nearly 5,700 adult learners, an increase in the number of adults served.

“We know that by 2020, at least 70 percent of Rhode Island jobs will require some form of postsecondary education. If we are going to meet the needs of employers and grow our state’s economy, adult education needs to be a priority,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We’re working across government, with our partners in industry at the table, to support programs and services that empower our adult learners and put them on a successful career pathway.”

This was the first Request for Proposal for adult education providers since 2010. Twenty-two proposals were submitted, requesting a total of $12.7 million. Half of the proposals represent multiple organizations working together, a collaborative, consortium-based approach that RIDE encouraged through the RFP process. RIDE also encouraged, and is funding, new models for adult education, such as the “RI-BEST” integrated approach to enable students to earn their GED, post-secondary credit, and receive job training at the same time.

“It is imperative that we engage more adult learners and ensure they are well-supported as they navigate higher education,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, Commissioner of Postsecondary Education. “We are thrilled that both Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island are receiving funding to bring the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) model to our state. This is a great opportunity for us to partner with adult education providers to promote postsecondary education and close skills gaps.”

While acquisition of a GED is often an entry point for adult learners, the state is committed to creating a strong continuum of programming that connects RIDE to the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner and the Department of Labor and Training, providing adult learners access to education, postsecondary credits, occupational skills, and industry credentials.

Rhode Island’s adult education programs have demonstrated the highest measurable skill gains in New England, and have significantly increased the number of students earning either a GED or an industry credential over the past year.

“This investment reflects our commitment to ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have access to and are prepared for good paying jobs,” said Heather Hudson, Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Board. “We congratulate all of the grantees, and we look forward to continuing to integrate high-quality adult education programs with Real Jobs Rhode Island and the rest of the state’s innovative workforce development efforts.”

Funding for adult education programs comes from the federal government through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, as well as state funding through the RIDE budget and the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB), which has been a champion of adult education in Rhode Island.

In 2011, 47 percent of the adult learners being served by state-funded programs were English learners. In 2018, that number has grown to 61 percent. RIDE and its partners across the education and workforce continuum are committed to better serving English learners and putting these adults on a path to employment and citizenship.

“Progreso Latino is fortunate to be a long-time RIDE grant recipient,” said Elizabeth Goodermote, Board President of Progreso Latino. “Funding is imperative to our organization so that we can continue to provide adult education and vocational training to adult immigrants looking for employment opportunities.”

Grant awards range from $41,500 to $1.3 million for the following recipients:

  • Blackstone Valley CAP
  • Community Care Alliance
  • Community College of Rhode Island
  • Comprehensive CAP
  • Cranston Public Schools
  • Crossroads Rhode Island
  • Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island
  • East Bay CAP
  • Education Exchange
  • Genesis Center
  • Mentor, Inc.
  • Newport Community Schools
  • Pawtucket School Department
  • Progreso Latino
  • Providence Public Library / Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative
  • Rhode Island College
  • Rhode Island Department of Corrections
  • Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies and Research
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency
  • Westbay Community Action
  • Year Up

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