The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has been awarded a $400,000 Lumina Foundation grant to encourage more adults to pursue certificate and associate programs in business, information technology, transportation/logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and construction.
Kentucky’s Adult Promise program will raise awareness of tuition-free education programs available through the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) program, and build program supports like better advising and mentoring to ensure adults persist in their educational goals. The program will target low-income and underrepresented adults who have no prior postsecondary credential.
“Kentucky is not going to meet its workforce and education goals unless we re-engage our adult population,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “This grant supports the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program, which is a tremendous opportunity for adults to get on a career ladder in high-demand industry sectors,” said Aaron Thompson, CPE president.
Five other states--California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina and Ohio--will join Kentucky in the second cohort of Lumina’s Adult Promise effort, a partnership with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).
Kentucky’s grant includes partnering with three campuses of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) to pilot enhanced academic supports and wrap-around services for WRKS adult students. The grant also will support new marketing and outreach efforts to raise awareness of the scholarship.
Additionally, CPE will partner with The Graduate! Network for regional outreach and professional development services, as well as Complete College America for their expertise in designing adult-friendly degree and credential programs.
Key partners include KCTCS, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Kentucky Skills U, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
To receive grants, states must show that they have financial aid for adults in place; a strong commitment to achieving fair-and-just educational outcomes among people of color; a clear readiness and intention to promote systemic change benefiting adults; and buy-in among stakeholders such as employers, public colleges and universities, community organizations and state leaders, according to the Lumina news release.
"Serving many more adults with no prior higher-ed experience will be critical to achieving the nation’s goal of 60 percent of working-age Americans having a degree or other high-quality credential by 2025,” said Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “We are excited more states are investing in efforts to help adults finish their education."
The Council on Postsecondary Education is leading efforts to get more Kentuckians more highly educated. By 2030, at least 60 percent of working-age adults in Kentucky will need to have earned a postsecondary education degree or credential to meet expected workforce demands.