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Where Do We Go Now? Adult and Workforce Education Policy Post-2020
Posted by Laura McLoughlin on April 21, 2021 in categoryFacts & Research

In the current issue of the ProLiteracy research journal Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy, Elizabeth A. Roumell from Texas A&M University looks at adult workforce education (AWE) policy post-2020. 


Roumell argues that workforce education policy requires a re-imagining in the wake of the recent shift to digital learning and the social and economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. 


Read an excerpt from the essay here: 


U.S. federal AWE policy development occurs in a pattern of “waves” of policy reform in response to major historical, economic, and social events. Such patterns in policy development illustrate that AWE policy tends to be reactionary, and that initiatives or amendments have been tacked onto longstanding legislation (e.g., Wagner Peyser Act, 1933). With WIOA, the beginning of a new policy wave and possible substantive overhaul of AWE policy is discernable. Recently amplified social and economic challenges may also suggest a favorable opportunity structure for further policy reform.  

The systematic coding of legislative documents revealed policy areas in need of further development. Ongoing concern about insufficient funding notwithstanding, the analyses provide evidence to support the assertion that AWE policy needs further attention in these areas: 


  • Educational technologies; learning, administrative, and productivity applications; and infrastructure to support digital literacy in adult learning; 
  • Transformation of teaching and learning practice through professional development; improvement of instructional systems and programming, and other sources of support for teaching and learning practices; 
  • Integration, cooperation, and responsiveness of policy coordinating between varying educational sectors; and  
  • Equity and inclusion: recognition and systems responses to social issues and matters of diversity, inclusion, and equity in educational programming specifically, and society more broadly, and improved support for workforce development to address earnings inequality. 


Download the Article





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