The state’s Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program transitioned from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to the TWC Workforce Development Division in 2013. The transition of the AEL program to TWC strengthens and expands TWC’s workforce development and educational capacity by aligning a statewide system of AEL providers with the network of Workforce Solutions Offices.
AEL funding is provided primarily under Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Funding for the 2015-2016 program year was $73,981,732. The Texas AEL system serves approximately 100,000 students through a network of 35 grant recipients and their 98 associated service providers, all operating within a variety of innovative projects.
In accordance with ongoing strategic planning, the primary goal of Texas’ Adult Education and Literacy system embraces a dedicated focus that supports increases in employment, postsecondary education and training transitions, skill gains, and secondary education completion. The provision of a more educated and skilled workforce can be accomplished through the enhancement of traditional, demonstrated approaches and through the incorporation of cutting-edge service models designed to integrate system services and to leverage community partnerships and resources.
To facilitate this goal, Texas AEL takes a multifaceted, dynamic approach to system transformation. Current efforts include:
The implementation of a robust accountability and technical assistance support system for AEL service providers
Full support of the statewide expansion of career pathways models. AEL is providing targeted incentives for exciting new models that promote program acceleration, services integration and transition models; the Accelerate Texas integrated education and training model is one such example of the focus on career pathways expansion
Funding a multi-dimensional and robust statewide professional development and trainer capacity building structure—TRAIN Tex— that includes mentoring, leadership training, research, local and statewide performance data analysis and online professional development that ensures timely and relevant professional development designed to further enhance AEL’s systemic transformation
Advancing fully collaborative efforts with Workforce Solutions through integration support grants, strategic planning events, and clear agency direction and support
Strategic integration with the service delivery system established under WIOA is vital. Boards engage and support AEL grant recipients in various activities that promote student success in career and higher education goals.
Types of workforce system integration and alignment through Boards and their Workforce Solutions Offices include:
executing responsibilities as the AEL grant recipient or strategic managing organization in some areas
strategic and program design guidance for career pathways through analysis of employment statistics and local labor market and career information, regional economic development, and industry or occupational demand studies
co-location of classes and staff in Workforce Solutions Offices, and
inter-agency referrals and co-enrollment in other workforce programs that support student retention, transition, and employment success.
It is through comprehensive service delivery and the cultivation of sustainable partnerships that AEL’s vision of systemic transformation is quickly becoming a reality. This new and strategic operational paradigm results in quality education and career options, the reinforcement of workforce development efforts, and the strengthening of higher education transition outcomes for students.