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Workforce Investment Act


Community Conversations 

Assistant Secretary of Education Visits Texas Learns

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) conducted Community Conversations across the nation to collect feedback and recommendations regarding the future of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). WIA funds adult education and job training programs in all 50 states.

Assistant Secretary of Education
Visits Texas LEARNS

Two sessions with the Assistant Secretary were hosted by Texas LEARNS on January 11,2010. Texas LEARNS is the the technical assistance provider for the Texas Adult Education Program, and is located at the headquarters of the Harris County Department of Education. Over 60 ELL students participated in the event, each being asked to provide individual comments regarding the following questions:

  1. What are the successful ingredients needed to prepare ELL adults for success in post-secondary education and training?
    • What are the challenges?
    • What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?
  2. What have been the greatest successes your systems have experienced in putting ELL adults on a path to jobs in high-growth sectors?
    • How can WIA reauthorization promote better alignment between adult education and workforce development?
    • What types of innovative approaches might work? 

Feedback from Texas LEARNS Sessions

Many students shared their personal stories with the Assistant Secretary and encouraged her to carry the message to Washington that the program is extremely important to their future as well as the future of the nation and its economy. Students expressed their gratitude to their teachers, the program staff, and USDE for the opportunity to learn English and obtain an education with postsecondary completion in mind.

  • Provide more books and materials so that students are able to study at home.
  • Provide access to current technology, such as: computer labs, internet access, and computers to borrow to take home.
  • Make services easier to find.
  • Provide more support services, such as: childcare and transportation assistance, to facilitate increased participation.
  • Recruit more teachers and provide more classes in bigger classrooms.
  • Build the capacity to separate classes so that those at higher levels don’t need to start over with new students each semester.
  • Provide accelerated English classes for students who hold diplomas and degrees from their native countries.
  • Connect adult education to workforce services, because most of the students in the classes need jobs or better jobs.
  • Provide conversational support classes/opportunities.
  • Provide more evening and weekend classes to facilitate employment and lifelong learning.
  • Provide information and support for enrolling and succeeding in post-secondary education.

Dann-Messier intends to present these comments and recommendations in upcoming meetings regarding the WIA which is being considered for reauthorization this year.  

Contact Information: 

 Adult Education Programs are a part of the Department of State Initiatives.


Page last modified on 9/17/2010 04:52:12 PM.