For Immediate Release
April 15, 2015
Signing Ceremony on April 24 Will Launch a New Initiative to Transform Adult Education in the Region
On Friday, April 24, elected representatives from Riverside Community College District and 14 other members and partners comprising the ABout Students Adult Education Regional Consortium will gather at the Riverside County Administrative Building for a 2 pm signing ceremony that will launch a major initiative to transform adult education in the region.
The ceremony signifies the completion of a comprehensive 159-page adult education plan that seeks to advance the educational and economic vitality of this region and marks the start of advocacy by the consortium to secure $30 million in funding needed to improve access and student success in adult education.
The potential payoff is a vastly improved, expanded adult education system that would directly address the needs of 19,000 to 31,000 more underserved adults. Accomplishing those goals would require would $16.5 to $27 million in funding.
"This community-wide effort seeks to address some very real problems in how we move adults from poverty to prosperity," said RCCD Chancellor Michael L. Burke. "As a community we cannot be satisfied with high adult unemployment and poverty rates. Aligning existing and creating new education and career pathways is a concrete solution."
Norco College president Paul Parnell called AB86 "an opportunity that offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to effect real change and close the gaps that trap tens of thousands of adults at the bottom of the socio-economic scale."
Stemming from the passage of AB86 (WIOA), approved by Governor Brown and the California Legislature in July 2013, the ABout Students plan evaluates existing Adult Education needs and programs; align pathways from K-12 to college/university to the workplace; address gaps in available education and training; increase access for disabled and other under-represented populations, and accelerate student progress.
Jamil Dada, a longtime local, state and national workforce advocate, sees the newly reauthorized Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act as a much needed catalyst for the region.
"The new act formally creates stronger partnerships between business and education," Dada said. "Going forward, it is our hope that community colleges will serve as centers of economic development."
The Consortium focused its attention on five key areas:
- Elementary and secondary basic skills
- Classes and courses, including ESL, for immigrants
- Education programs for adults with disabilities
- Short-term career education
- Programs for apprenticeships
More than 100 representatives from member and partner organizations helped developed the plan thanks to a $435,000 grant from the State Chancellor's Office. Norco College acted as the fiduciary agent for the grant and coordinated planning efforts.
About Students Adult Education Regional Consortium members include RCCD, Norco College, Moreno Valley College, Riverside City College, Alvord Unified School District, Corona-Norco Unified School District, Jurupa Unified School District, Moreno Valley Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District and Val Verde Unified School District. Partners include the Riverside County Office of Education, the Desert Regional Consortium, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, the Department of Public Social Services, and the Work Force Investment Board.