The U.S. Education Department (ED) on Wednesday announced 95 finalists — which include 36 public two-year colleges — for its Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, a $750,000 competition to advance pre-apprenticeships.
The program aims to share innovative learning and training opportunities to help adult learners prepare for apprenticeship opportunities, the department said.
“Many adult learners face barriers to accessing apprenticeships, even though these programs can serve as pathways into meaningful careers across industries,” ED said in a release. “Pre-apprenticeships break down these barriers by equipping adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in apprenticeships — which can expand access to rewarding careers across the United States.”
The department received more 200 submissions between September and November 2020 that cover a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and technology. The selected organizations — which include higher education institutions, local educational agencies, community and faith-based organizations, and correctional facilities — advance to the next round of the competition, which will run from February to July. During this stage, finalists will have access to resources and support to help refine their program designs, ED said.
A selected panel will review the stage-two proposals and name one grand-prize winner and up to five runners-up. The challenge will award $250,000 to the top winner, and at least $100,000 to the runners up.