Amazon and COABE Work Together to Provide Jobs for Adult Learners

TIME: 2:00 PM, EST

As one of the fastest growing companies on earth, Amazon has made it a priority to offer quality entry-level positions that can lead to either a career in management, or participation in our tuition pre-payment program for a certification or associate’s degree. To demonstrate our commitment to our hourly workforce, we recently increased our minimum wage to $15 per hour for all entry-level positions across the country, irrespective of location. Whether your students are looking for a long-term career or just to earn extra money, we offer full-time, part-time, seasonal and flexible schedules for a variety of jobs in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Our basic hiring requirements are only to be at least 18 years old and have a GED or equivalent.

Join us on December 7th, as we discuss hourly employment opportunities and career growth at Amazon, as well as Amazon’s Career Choice Program that pre-pays tuition for degrees in high-demand fields.

Bring Student Leaders to COABE 2019 New Orleans

COABE's Student Engagement Strand promotes the notion that engaged learners become leaders in their classrooms and community. Student attendees will have the opportunity to network, and learn about what works in adult basic education along with professional educators and fellow student presenters. Learners who play this kind of leadership role at a national conference persist to success because they transform the way they see themselves - key stakeholders and experts in the field of adult basic education. This gives them a boost in self-esteem along with knowledge, skills, and abilities for their future endeavors in transitioning to higher education and careers. The range of topics covered in this strand is aimed at audiences from across the field of adult education with student perspectives and voice as the central focus. 

The Ambassadors Train the Trainer pre-conference session is designed to provide hands-on training for adult education teams (admin/staff/student) from around the country who want to develop advocacy leaders for their states. Ambassadors representational leadership training program focuses on the development of student voice and provides adult learners a recognized role in which they can publicly speak about their own experience and represent the common interests and needs of others. Student ambassadors develop confidence and skills that transfer to personal, academic, and professional lives. The training provides teams a foundation with four crucial components of representational leadership for adult basic education. Awareness – statistics and research. Stories – a powerful tool to affect change. Public speaking – crafting a message and delivering it effectively. Meeting with officials – planning and facilitating a meeting with a person in power. 

For more information, contact Regina Suitt or Laura Porfirio


Title:  Adult Education Ambassadors representational leadership - Train the Trainer  (Pre-conference all-day)

Abstract:  The Ambassadors representational leadership training program focuses on the development of student voice in the fullest sense. It provides adult learners a recognized role in which they can publicly speak about their own experience and represent the common interests and needs of others. Students develop confidence and skills that transfer to other personal and professional roles. During this train-the-trainer session, participants will learn and participate in the four crucial components of representational leadership for adult basic education. Awareness – statistics and research. Stories – a powerful tool to affect change. Public speaking – crafting a message and delivering it effectively. Meeting with officials – planning and facilitating a meeting with a person in power. 

Title: Adult Education Transforms Communities: Stories of Empowerment and Self Efficacy

Abstract: The effect of experiential and transformational learning that takes place throughout the adult educational instructional experience can create the foundation for a successful life after adult education.  The stories of adult learners can help others understand their journey to overcome challenges can empower other to advocates for themselves. 

Title:  Connecting Math and Science: Contextualizing to Topics that Count

Abstract:  Where do standards for Mathematical Practice come together with Science and Engineering Practices? How can the vocabulary, discussion and themes in the math class support the student’s knowledge of science content and take advantage of student interests? This Instructor/ Student Leader co-presenter team uses the topic of recycling to demonstrate application to our math classes with lessons for fractions, percents, ratios and other foundational math skills. We bring together the GED Science focusing theme of Energy and related systems, with real data, charts, infographics and information about recycling and materials cycles. Students care about recycling. It is a way to be civically active. Experience the connections to GED and career preparation that integrating science and math can bring to your students in your classroom. Extensions to reading and writing lessons are available and encouraged. This session will provide usable takeaways for your classes. 

Title:  The Writing Process Builds Skills, Develops Voice, and Supports Students to Persist

Abstract:  Teaching writing touches on so many important learning opportunities. Your students will learn the basic skills they need to be successful in school and in their careers. They will access their “voice” – by using the writing process to grapple with concepts, make sense of complex idea, and determine their own perspective. Finally, they will be inspired to stay in school – because writing (at any level) is a deeply rewarding way to be heard. When students put their ideas on the page, and those ideas are taken seriously, and they are invited to refine their ideas and make deep connections, they will see themselves as successful students and thinkers who belong in school! 

Title:  "Connect the Dots: Student Leadership Development and WIOA Employability Skills".

Abstract:  In this interactive session, participants will explore the connection between student leadership training and WIOA Employability Skills. The session, which may include one Student Ambassador, will examine the skills developed during leadership/ambassador training related to leadership, teamwork, communication, customer service, professionalism, and self management among others.

National Committee Opportunity


Opportunity to Serve on a New COABE Committee

It is with great excitement that COABE announces the formation of the Education Behind & Beyond the Walls Committee. COABE, as the leader in adult literacy advocacy, recognizes the need to provide adult education for everyone, including the men and women who are incarcerated and those that have served their sentence and return home to begin a new life. Substantial research has shown that education and training, both while incarcerated and upon release, significantly reduces the risk of recidivism and could dramatically change the life of those returning home. The challenges and barriers facing those who travel through the criminal justice system are many, and often education and occupational skill development hold the key to providing a fresh start in a career with sustainable wages and opportunities for advancement.

COABE is looking for passionate, committed, and passionate educators who are interested in helping to improve the educational opportunities behind our prison walls and beyond. If you are interested in joining this new committee, please complete the following interest survey. This committee will meet quarterly via web conference and will work to provide equal access to adult education for everyone.

If you are interested in joining this exciting new committee, please click the button below to apply.

2019 COABE Board Nominations

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The Coalition on Adult Basic Education represents the system of 55,000 adult educators in the United States. Our roll of active members continues to grow, with more than 23,000 active members and many more educators registering (close to 40,000) annually for special events. Membership allows for participation in our professional development webinars, attending our virtual and national conferences and regional institutes, downloading our research journal, participating in our legislative advocacy initiatives, and joining us in our award winning "Educate and Elevate" national public awareness campaign.  

As our organization continues to lead the field of adult education, the need for a dynamic and effective Board of Directors increases. Elected members of the Board of Directors serve for three years and meet two times per year. There are 5 upcoming open board positions. The positions for which we are seeking nominations include President-ElectVice President for MembershipRegion 2 Representative (Washington D.C., Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia), Region 4 Representative (Illinois, Indiana Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin), and Region 6 Representative (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas). If you are a current member, but not residing in one of these regions, you can still participate! If you know of someone that you think would be an outstanding candidate, you can nominate and/or apply for the role of Vice President for Membership. As well, current members of the COABE board that have held an elected position at one time can be nominated for the President-Elect position. 

  • The full list of responsibilities for the President-Elect position can be found here.

  • The full list of responsibilities for the Vice President for Membership can be found here.

  • The full list of responsibilities for Regional Representatives can be found here.

If you are interested in running for office or nominating a candidate for office, please ensure your membership is current. Contact if you need assistance renewing your membership, as only current members will be considered. Also, interested members are welcome to join us on December 13th at 2:00 p.m. EST for an important meeting which will provide you with the opportunity to interact with current members on our board, learn from them why they ran for office, and discuss what they view as the benefits of serving on the board. We will also review the nominations timeline (HERE), the rubric that is used for selecting candidates (HERE), campaign protocol, and much more!    

Register for the virtual meeting HERE.   

To apply or nominate a colleague, please complete the online form by clicking the button below. If you have questions or need assistance completing the form, please contact  

Note: Candidates should plan to attend the COABE 2019 National Conference in New Orleans, LA, March 31 to April 3rd 2019 where they will have the opportunity to meet with conferees and campaign for their vote.  

Important Updates-Perkins, CLASP, and Manager Mondays

Why a Combined WIOA/Postsecondary-Only Perkins V State Plan would Benefit Adult Education

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Adult education, as title II of WIOA, is incorporated into a state’s WIOA state plan. To connect postsecondary CTE to adult education, states should strongly support the option that reads “WIOA Combined State Plan – Postsecondary Only” on page 11 of OCTAE’s recently released draft Perkins V “Guide for the Submission of State Plans.”

This is important for two reasons. First, it will ensure that critical planning content on adult education and postsecondary CTE are included in the same plan document. This is a formal way for the state to connect the two programs in a document submitted to the federal government, particularly the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education – the office that overseas both these federal programs.

Second, once the programs are connected through the combined planning process, opportunities can open up for dual enrollment for adult education students in postsecondary CTE. While Perkins IV fueled the development of dual enrollment between secondary students and postsecondary education, Perkins V can define a strategy of dual enrollment of adult education students in postsecondary career and technical education, providing opportunities for best practice Integrated Education and Training (IET) models and increasing postsecondary enrollments.

We encourage any interested party to submit comment via this Federal Register link in support of retaining this option in the final Perkins V planning guidance. Comment is due to the Federal Register by December 24, 2018.


Maximizing the Power of Pathways: Vital Career Pathway Conversations

On July 19, 2018, CLASP partnered with the Workforce Collaborative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation to host Maximizing the Power of Pathways: Vital Career Pathway Conversations. The convening brought together state education and workforce development leaders, national organizations, advocates, funders, and federal agency staff to share perspectives on four current and critical areas of career pathway work:

In conversation on these four topics, state leaders shared progress and pain points as well as passion and expertise. CLASP has compiled highlights from these discussions in hopes that they will spur further conversation and action in communities across the country. The above links provide PDFs of the highlights.


Manager Mondays

In response to requests from the field, COABE is holding a series of leadership training webinars (5 one-hour training events) for local program administrators on a variety of high-need topics. These Manager Mondays will feature state and local practitioners who are tackling the same issues you face each day. Additionally, each webinar will include OCTAE recommended resources. Register today!

The first of these Manager Monday webinars, "WIOA Opportunities" is scheduled for Monday, November 5th at 3:00 p.m.

There are two webinars scheduled on Monday, November 5th. One begins at 2:00 p.m. and the other begins at 3:00 p.m. If you wish to attend both webinars, you must register for each separately and use the distinct login information for each webinar. You cannot use the same login code for both webinars. If you have any questions, please contact Click here for more details.

Special thanks to Essential Education, the generous sponsor of this special training series.

COABE Monthly Membership Update November 2018

We want to acknowledge that more than 84,000 connections have been made with legislators since launching Educate and Elevate, and nearly 7,000 of those connections were made by adult learners. Working together, we were also able to help the field secure an additional $2.1 billion in CTE funding! Read the full report.

Stay up to date with what is happening with COABE by reading the November 2018 issue of the COABE membership update.

VIP Vendor of the Month: BurlingtonEnglish

BurlingtonEnglish offers a unique program for English language acquisition. It combines face-to-face classroom activities with any time-anywhere access to state-of-the-art online interactive courses. With the BurlingtonEnglish SpeechTrainer®, students effectively improve their pronunciation and comprehensibility, giving them the confidence to communicate successfully in any situation.

Call for Articles

Prison Literacy Edition of the COABE Journal



More than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons each year, making reentry into the community a major concern for everyone. However, there is a constant cycle into and out of our criminal justice system with nearly two thirds of those released from prison finding their way back inside within three years of release.

According to a 2010 Pew Charitable Trust Report:

  • Approximately 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent.

  • One in three black males and one in eight white males between the ages of 20 and 34 without a high school credential are incarcerated.

  • Formerly incarcerated men earn approximately 11% less per hour and 40% less per year than those who have never been incarcerated.

Unfortunately, many offenders are ill-equipped to break the cycle of catch and release because of the lack of education and workforce skills needed to succeed in the labor market and the cognitive skills needed to address the challenges of reentry. In fact, 40% of federal and state prisoners lack a high school credential, compared to less than 20% of the general population. Many returning citizens struggle to find employment upon their release. Of the men and women who receive adult education when incarcerated, there is a 43% better chance of those individuals not recidivating.

Education and skill training inside and then continuing outside the prison walls holds the key to not only stemming the tide of recidivism but in changing the generations that follow.

With these sobering statistics in mind, COABE is planning a special Prison Literacy Edition of the COABE Journal, slated to be published in March 2019.

Do you have experience working with incarcerated adults? Have you been involved in prison education programs? We are looking for articles that focus on this relevant topic of prison literacy and prison education. Please consider making a contribution to this important issue of the COABE Journal.

To review the details for article submission click here. Deadline: January 15, 2019.

In a California elementary school, parents have a classroom of their own

 Yordanos Habte hands out practice absence slips to her classmates at Fruitvale Elementary School in Oakland, California on Oct. 1, 2018. She is a student in a family literacy class at her child's school. The class help parents learn skills, such as writing notes to their children's teachers.

Yordanos Habte hands out practice absence slips to her classmates at Fruitvale Elementary School in Oakland, California on Oct. 1, 2018. She is a student in a family literacy class at her child's school. The class help parents learn skills, such as writing notes to their children's teachers.

Inside a classroom at Fruitvale Elementary School in Oakland, California, about 20 women are practicing spelling out loud in English.

They're the mothers, aunts and grandmothers of children at the school. Four mornings each week, the women - immigrants from Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean - drop off their children and then head into a classroom of their own to learn English.

Wahbiai Alqaifi, a mother from Yemen, has been in the US for 15 years. She has six children, one of them a fourth grader at Fruitvale. She used to struggle to understand English in her daily life, she says, but the class helped her expand her vocabulary.

Capitol Hill Day Student Ambassador Update

 Student Ambassador, Justine Geiger, with Linda Cianferra and Oogie Lamar from Michigan Association for Community and Adult Education.

Student Ambassador, Justine Geiger, with Linda Cianferra and Oogie Lamar from Michigan Association for Community and Adult Education.

Advocating for Adult Education has been very close to my heart and after graduation has become more important to me to fight for other adults who deserve the opportunity for themselves. After being chosen to be a part of the COABE ambassador training program, the drive to advocate has taken this importance to an even greater height. When I was made aware of an opportunity to travel to Washington DC to advocate for Adult Education I was eager to accept. Being on the front lines of our countries leaders to advocate for Adult Education was a remarkable place to continue my efforts. I was humbled to share my story and put a face to Adult Education for those who may not fully understand the importance that Adult Ed has for not just me but for all the adults who have been through Adult Education and for all the adults who will need their support in the future. Walking through those historic halls was such a moving experience for me and furthering the pride I feel when I take the stand for Adult Education. I am proud to be an Adult Ed student and it brings me joy to be a part of something that is so important to me and the future of our entire country.

Justine Geiger
Novi Adult Education Graduate (Michigan)
Washtenaw Community College
Social Work Major

Cargill recognized with inaugural award for adult education efforts


The Colorado Adult Education Professional Association (CAEPA) is recognizing Cargill with its inaugural Outstanding Organization Supporting Adult Education Award, acknowledging the company's efforts to provide workplace training for more than 5,800 employees and community members through Morgan Community College's Workplace Education.

Cargill is the largest employer in Morgan County with approximately 2,150 employees. In addition to the U.S., employees working at the plant represent nearly 30 additional countries.

"Cargill is honored to receive this award and to be a part of Colorado's adult education network," said Cargill Plant General Manager Tyler Luft. "The accomplishments of the students in (MCC) Morgan Community College's Workplace Education program at our plant is an example of education as a lifelong journey."

Career Pathways in Chicago, Houston, and Miami: Key Features and Support Services Among Adult Education Providers


Dr. Esther Prins, Professor, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program at Penn State, is Co-Director of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy. Her research interests include adult and family literacy and critical, sociocultural approaches to adult education. She was PI for a 3-year Institute of Education Sciences grant on career pathways (2015-2018).


Dr. Carol Clymer is a Research Associate in the College of Education at Penn State University and Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy and the Goodling Institute for Research in Family LiteracyDr. Clymer has 40 years of experience implementing and evaluating programs to improve the education and employment prospects of low-income and/or low-skilled individuals. As a Senior Program Director at Public/Private Venturesshe participated in the design and implementation of professional development projects and large-scale evaluations and outcomes studies related to performance benchmarking, employment retention, sectoral employment, out-of-school youth, and college access. As the Director of Literacy and Workforce Development at El Paso Community College, her work focused on adult education, workplace, and family literacy. She has also authored numerous publications including a guide to implementing IETs. 

The findings of an in-depth research study conducted by Dr. Esther Prins and Dr. Carol Clymer are presented in the article, "Career Pathways in Chicago, Houston, and Miami: Key Features and Support Services Among Adult Education Providers." The article underscores the importance of providing comprehensive support services to help adult learners address the cognitive and material burden of poverty. The article also addresses the gaps in many of the current career pathway models to help guide adult educators' decisions about how to design and implement career pathway programs so that adults are better prepared for postsecondary education and employment.

"Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the project included researchers at the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at Penn State and partners at the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition, Houston Center for Literacy, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The purpose of the project was to map the landscape of CP in these cities. This article uses survey data to describe salient features of CP across the cities and then uses qualitative focus group and case study data to analyze support services in greater detail. We selected this programmatic feature because it cuts across all case study sites and because the findings suggest it was crucial for helping students access and persist in CP programs. We argue that mental bandwidth is a useful way of conceptualizing how wraparound supports minimize the cognitive load of poverty, thereby expanding adult learners’ ability to focus on their studies."

The COABE Journal - Integrated Career Pathways: Lessons from Accelerating Opportunity

COABE has published a Journal for more than 40 years. As a member of COABE, we invite you to access our special Career Pathways edition which features articles by the very best researchers, practitioners, and leaders in the field of adult education.


Rachel Pleasants McDonnell, Associate Director, is engaged in research, documentation, and technical assistance focused on policies and practices that improve postsecondary outcomes for underserved populations. She also develops and coordinates in-person and virtual technical assistance opportunities including webinars, tools, and online resources. She co-manages Accelerating CTE, an initiative to redesign career and technical education programs to substantially increase the number of students able to succeed in their career pathways, earn a credential, and enter the workplace with competitive skills. She also supports evaluation efforts for the Student Success Center Network and provides strategic consultation to states within the Network. Previously, Ms. McDonnell co-managed Accelerating Opportunity, JFF’s national initiative to integrate adult basic education with Career and Technical Education in seven states.


Dr. Lisa SoriconeEdD is Associate Research Director at JFF. Her work focuses on research and evaluation of programs and policies that help low-skilled and underprepared adults succeed in career pathways and postsecondary education. She helped evaluate the success of programs that help adults succeed in community college, including the Adult Degree Completion Project and an evaluation of bridge-to-college programs for adult immigrants in Boston. Dr. Soricone was the evaluation liaison for Accelerating Opportunity. Dr. Soricone is coauthor of a study of English as a second language service in Boston, and multiple publications related to adult learning, including a study of adult learner persistence, a case study of the adult education system in Massachusetts, a literature review on programs that integrate adult basic education with occupational training, and a publication on program conditions suitable for conducting research in adult education.

The article, "Integrated Career Pathways: Lessons from Accelerating Opportunity," was written by Rachel Pleasants McDonnell and Dr. Lisa Soricone. The article outlines the implementation of the Accelerating Opportunity initiative, which spanned four years and seven states. As the article shows, the initiative was an unprecedented investment in underprepared adult learners and explores lessons learned which can help practitioners, researchers, and policymakers continue to improve outcomes for underprepared and underserved adults. 

“Accelerating Opportunity was developed as a strategy for helping more underprepared adult learners enter and succeed in postsecondary credit-bearing career pathways. While postsecondary credentials are increasingly important for obtaining family-supporting careers, more than sixty percent of adults 18 and older lack any postsecondary credential. In addition, weak literacy and numeracy skills keep millions of adults from succeeding in today’s labor market. Historically, disconnected systems—including adult education, secondary education, community colleges, and workforce development—have made it difficult for underprepared adult learners to advance through education and training programs in a reasonable time frame. Very few Adult Basic Education students (by some estimates, less than 5%) ever enroll in college-level pathways, much less graduate with marketable credentials.”

Toyota Teacher of the Year: Beth Detwiler


On Wednesday, August 22, Beth Detwiler was at Coliseum College Prep Academy teaching her normal morning family literacy class to a group of adult students when suddenly, her day was turned on its head. First, in walked OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell followed by a video crew. Minutes later, Johnson-Trammell introduced a visitor with a big surprise. Click HERE to read the press release about her surprise visit from the National Center for Families Learning.

October is Health Literacy Month!

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Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. This annual, worldwide, awareness-raising event has been going strong ever since Helen Osborne founded it in 1999.

Over the years health care organizations, community services, health literacy coalitions, government agencies,  literacy programs, universities, and many others have hosted a wide range of Health Literacy Month events. These include how-to workshops for professionals, wellness programs for patients and the public, and educational offerings for students at all levels.

The theme for Health Literacy Month is "Be a Health Literacy Hero." It's about taking action and finding ways to improve health communication. Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, or organizations who not only identify health literacy problems but also act to solve them. You can help by recognizing and cheering on those you consider as  Health Literacy Heroes.

Check out the free handbook provided by Health Literacy Month HERE.

President Trump Has Signed FY 19 Labor-HHS bill (additional $25 million for Adult Education)

Dear COABE Members,

President Trump just signed the FY 19 Labor-HHS bill which includes funding for adult education. It is first time this bill has been enacted before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. This bill includes the additional $25 Million our field has been advocating for.

Five of the twelve appropriations bills have now been enacted. The bill signed by the President today also contains the FY 19 Defense appropriations bill and a Continuing Resolution to keep federal agencies yet to be funded open through December 7, 2018.

Congratulations to all who contacted their legislators through our Educate and Elevate campaign on behalf of Adult Education! Your hard work has paid off!

Sharon Bonney
Executive Director

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2018 was a Resounding Success!

 Left to Right: COABE Executive Director, Sharon Bonney; NASDAE Executive Director, Patricia Tyler; Kaye Sharbono, President: Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary; Reecie Stagnolia, NASDAE Chair, and Cheryl Keenan, OCTAE

Left to Right: COABE Executive Director, Sharon Bonney; NASDAE Executive Director, Patricia Tyler; Kaye Sharbono, President: Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary; Reecie Stagnolia, NASDAE Chair, and Cheryl Keenan, OCTAE

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week was a resounding success! COABE leadership kicked off the week by meeting with new Assistant Secretary Stump for over an hour, discussing the field of adult education and ways that COABE, NASDAE, and OCTAE can address needs and issues in the field.

Later that evening, COABE's Ambassador Program, which was designed and developed by Regina Suitt, was honored with a Literacy Leadership Award by the National Coalition for Literacy.

The following day, seventy five visits were made to legislators by COABE members who were advocating for adult education. Because this is the first time in recent history that WIOA II received an increase, our members had the opportunity to thank legislators for valuing adult education. Legislative awards were given to Representative Foxx, Representative Bobby Scott, Senator Murphy, Senator Rubio, and Senator Roy Blunt for their leadership during the budget process. Many of the Capitol Hill participants posted pictures on the COABE App and social media which further raised the visibility of this important week!

Did you celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week? Please share your stories with us.