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ACE Awards Grants to Advance Innovative Adult Education Demonstration Projects

September 10, 2012


ACE has awarded grants to six higher education institutions for innovative adult education demonstration projects. The grants are part of ACE’s multipronged national initiative to ensure more adults in the United States obtain college degrees.

A Kresge Foundation grant of $600,000 announced earlier this year is helping support ACE’s national adult education agenda. ACE also is devoting additional funding from the Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation and Hearst Foundation to its overall adult education initiative and will spend a total of about $1 million to propel action on a national scale.

An aggressive adult learner agenda is needed in an economy where, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 63 percent of the 46.8 million job openings that will be created by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education.

ACE is deploying Kresge Foundation money, as well as Ford Foundation funds, for these six pilot projects testing new strategies to assist adult learners in pursuing a postsecondary path. Among the key adult education issues tackled by the projects is how to ensure adult students receive appropriate college credit for prior learning experience gained in the workplace or the military.

Each of the six institutions—which include public and private, two- and four-year colleges and universities—that won grants will present their project results at the ACE Annual Meeting, which will be held March 2-5, 2013, in Washington, DC.

The grant recipients are: the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Virginia; Eastern Connecticut State University; Pellissippi State Community College (TN); Campbellsville University (KY); University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College (OH); and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For more information on the projects, see this fact sheet.

“These promising initiatives have the potential to enhance adult education in this country and offer adult learners a more accessible pathway to a degree,” said Gretchen M. Bataille, ACE senior vice president for Leadership and Lifelong Learning. “This exemplifies the commitment ACE and The Kresge Foundation have to forging progress in the national adult education arena.”

“As the United States seeks to retake its position as the world’s best educated nation, it is critical that colleges and universities look to opportunities to support older adults to build and retool their skills through lifelong learning,” said William Moses, Kresge’s program director for education. “Working with adults offers the twin benefit of increasing American competitiveness globally and providing individuals and their families a more secure future in these changing economic times.”

ACE has long led the national movement to recognize and promote adult learning in higher education, from initiatives for returning World War II veterans to the GED® test and other programs that evaluate military and corporate training and courses for college credit recommendations.

Based in metropolitan Detroit, The Kresge Foundation is a $3.1 billion private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in its seven program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services. Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge’s Education grantmaking. In 2011, Kresge awarded more than $22 million in grants to support higher education in the United States and South Africa, with half benefiting U.S. community colleges. For more information, please visit the Foundation website: or follow @kresgedu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Riskind  ▪ 202-939-9453  ▪

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