2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 22 - Education
General and Administrative
Article 10 - Adult Education and Literacy
§ 22-10-102. Legislative declaration
(1) The general assembly finds that:
(a) Increased educational attainment is a proven pathway out of poverty. In general, research shows that average annual earnings increase and unemployment rates decrease with each successive level of education or training that a person achieves.
(b) Postsecondary education and credential attainment are increasingly central to a person's ability to earn family-sustaining wages, participate more fully in Colorado's twenty-first-century workforce, and contribute to the state's economic health and vitality;
(c) Both nationally and in Colorado, projections indicate that by 2025, two-thirds of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary education or technical skill training;
(d) Colorado has a substantial "middle-skill gap" in its workforce. Middle-skill jobs require some postsecondary education or training but less than a four-year degree. These positions make up approximately forty-seven percent of the state's jobs, but only thirty-six percent of Colorado workers have the training necessary to fill them.
(e) Before Colorado can meet its workforce, educational attainment, and poverty-reduction goals, the state must address the need for adult education. A significant percentage of the state's working-age population lacks a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many of these individuals do not have basic literacy or numeracy skills and are unprepared for participation in postsecondary education and for participation in the twenty-first-century workforce.
(f) Effectively addressing the need for adult education requires the appropriation of state moneys to fund adult education and literacy programs that participate in workforce development partnerships. Although there are several postsecondary programs that focus on workforce development and skills acquisition, these programs typically assume that participants are or have been in the workforce in some capacity and have already attained a base level of literacy and numeracy. Adult education and literacy programs, however, are typically designed for adults who have been unable to enter the workforce in a meaningful capacity due to a lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills.
(g) In return for state investment in adult education and literacy programs, these programs must refocus their mission to ensure that more low-skilled, low-income adults not only attain the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they lack, but that they move as quickly as possible from skill acquisition to postsecondary credential attainment to employment; and
(h) Successfully refocusing the mission of adult education and literacy programs requires the active collaboration and coordination of a variety of state agencies and organizations that are involved in adult education and literacy, postsecondary education, training and credential attainment, workforce development, economic development, and human services.
(2) The general assembly finds, therefore, that it is in the best interests of the state to establish an adult education and literacy grant program to provide state funding for public and private nonprofit adult education and literacy programs. Investing in these programs will enable them to serve a larger share of the state's eligible adult population and ensure that more adults can reach and complete the next level of education and training, thereby leading to better employment outcomes that enable more low-income, low-literacy adults to ultimately achieve economic self-sufficiency.
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