Accelerating help for low-skilled adult learners

The Accelerating Opportunity (AO) initiative is designed to transform how states work with their adult education programs and community colleges to provide training for underprepared adult learners.

AO career pathway programs enable more low-income adults to complete postsecondary credentials for in-demand jobs by giving them an opportunity to enroll in career and technical education courses while completing high school equivalency programs.

A new report finds that the initiative, launched in 2011 by Jobs for the Future (JFF), was a success at community colleges in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana. Students who could not otherwise attend college courses were able to earn college credits and credentials.

There were about 4,300 AO participants who earned more than 79,000 college credits and nearly 6,800 college credentials. The likelihood of AO students earning a college credential over the matched comparison groups by between 11 and 20 percentage points. This represented an increase of 19 percent in Kansas, 35 percent in Illinois, 133 percent in Kentucky, and 622 percent in Louisiana.

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This excerpt comes from the AACC 21st-Century Center.