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Arkansas Adult Education increases enrollment by 20%

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01/31/2024

Arkansas Adult Education increases enrollment by 20%

16,000 Arkansans served by Adult Education in 2022-2023 school year

Little Rock, Ark. (January 31, 2023)—The Adult Education Section of the Division of Workforce Services (Adult Education) has experienced a 20% enrollment increase during its 2022-2023 school year, showing a trend toward pre-COVID enrollment. More than 16,000 Arkansans came through the doors of an Adult Education Center and nearly 10,000 Arkansans utilized adult education services to obtain an Arkansas high-school diploma through GED® testing, increase English-language proficiency, and earn certifications or participate in training for skill-specific industries. Arkansans can find an Adult Education Center near them online at https://aalrc.org/find-a-center-2/.

“This 20% increase is a testament to the commitment of our Adult Education providers and their ability to recruit and retain students,” said Dr. Trenia Miles, director of the Adult Education Section of the Division of Workforce Services. “Approximately 300,000 Arkansans lack a high school diploma which places a great demand for our services across the state. Most individuals enroll in Adult Education to earn their Arkansas high school diploma or learn English. However, Adult Education is equally focused on helping individuals become employed or attain better jobs with higher wages by integrating workforce preparation skills such as employability skills, digital literacy, and financial literacy into the curriculum.”

Adult Education is ranked fourth in the nation among GED® test pass rates with 86% of students passing in 2022-2023. Dr. Miles said that while the GED® program continues to drive individuals into Adult Education Centers, their inquiries provide an opportunity for staff to introduce them to other free programs and services, including:

  • Integrated education and training, which allows students to earn job industry certifications or credentials while improving their basic academic skills; These include certifications in healthcare, manufacturing, business management, logistics, information technology, etc.
  • Computer literacy Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE™), which is a job readiness program for unemployed and underemployed adults.

To continue this growth and meet the educational needs of Arkansans, Miles said Adult Education is collaborating with other partner programs, more Arkansas employers, and increasing apprenticeship opportunities at centers statewide. She and her section are also working to increase the number of dual enrollment participants.

“Studies show that an individual enrolled in multiple programs increases their opportunities for success. Adults have more employment opportunities with higher wages by adding credentials alongside earning a high school diploma,” Miles said.

Additionally, Adult Education conducts its own research to gain a stronger understanding of students’ needs and interests to further align with employers of Arkansas.

“We evaluate the Arkansas workforce needs by analyzing labor market information, working with other core partners such as Workforce Services and the local Workforce Development Boards, and asking businesses the right questions and ensuring our programs equip students to be successful employees,” said Bridget Criner, associate director of the Adult Education Section of Workforce Services.

Students can find a center by visiting Adult Education online or by calling 1-877-963-4GED (4433).

About Arkansas Adult Education

Arkansas Adult Education, a section of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, prepares a job-ready, career-bound workforce to meet the needs of Arkansas employers. Adult Education oversees 37 adult education programs and two literacy councils, providing services to all 75 counties of the state. For more information about workforce preparation and training opportunities, including locations and contact information for adult education programs around the state, please visit  dws.arkansas.gov/adult-education/ .

Contact Information:  

Stephanie Jackson | The Design Group

501.492.4900

Stephanie@designgroupmarketing.com

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FROM THE ARKANSAS DIVISION OF WORKFORCE SERVICES​

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