In the wake of federal cuts in adult education and career training, supporters of the programs are arguing there is an urgent need for more federal dollars, not fewer. Their leaders came here on Monday to argue their case before members of Congress.
A policy paper, "The Return on Investment (ROI) From Adult Education and Training," also released on Monday, contends that billions of dollars could be earned, saved, and pumped back into the struggling economy as a result of investments in programs for work-force development.
The report is a joint project of the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation and the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education.
The plea for more money comes a month after Congress approved budget legislation for 2011 that cut roughly $138-million from the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, including the elimination of the Tech-Prep program and $35-million in reductions in state career- and technical-education grants.
During a recent joint meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium and the federal Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the large crowd to expect more cuts in Perkins funds for the 2012 fiscal year.
He said that career- and technical-education advocates must make a compelling case for continued federal financial support by showing improved student outcomes. The main thrust of the policy paper, and the visit to Capitol Hill, centered on the vital role that adult-education and career-training programs play in the nation’s economic recovery.
The paper’s authors argue that "adult education actually saves governments money by reducing societal health-care, public-assistance, and incarceration costs." Adult education also improves and expands the nation’s available pool of workers by helping motivated but undereducated people get jobs,the report says.