Issue 252 - September 22, 2016 - OCTAE Connection

OCTAE Newsletter

September 22, 2016

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week: Sept. 26–Oct. 1

OCTAE encourages all stakeholders and advocates to participate in and explore the many resources available during National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, from Sept. 26–Oct 1. The celebration is designed to raise public awareness about the need for and value of adult education and family literacy in order to leverage resources to support access to basic education programs for the 36 million U.S. adults with low literacy skills.  

OCTAE particularly invites stakeholders to not only access and explore the online LINCS community and its many resources but also to consider joining LINCS. Funded by OCTAE, LINCS provides a community of practice for adult education practitioners—a professional learning space—that brings together adult educators worldwide to provide high-quality, evidence-based learning opportunities to adult students. The site is a place where the adult education community can seek help, collaborate, network, share knowledge and resources, participate in special events, and grow professionally. Interested parties do not need to wait until Sept. 26 to join and share LINCS with others—the LINCS resource collection and learning portal are available 24/7. Learners can access the LINCS Learner Center, in English or Spanish, at any time from any device. For more on this topic and to follow events in real time, use the Twitter hashtag #AEFLWeek and follow LINCS at @LINCS_ED 

Visit the OCTAE Blog and the Commission on Adult Basic Education and National Coalition for Literacy websites to explore many new and exciting initiatives and for information on planned activities during Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

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Minority-Serving Community Colleges: Uniting for Student Success

All minority-serving community colleges and other interested parties are invited to participate in the second annual national convening of minority-serving community colleges. This event will take place Nov. 1–2, 2016, at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, D.C., and will offer opportunities to 

  • exchange promising practices on student success institutions from across the country;
  • meet representatives from federal agencies and learn about federal programs for     minority-serving institutions;
  • hear from and speak with researchers and funders;
  • interact with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education; and
  • engage with minority-serving community college communities of practice. 

There is no conference fee; however, your institution will need to pay for all related travel expenses, meals, and miscellaneous costs. Due to space constraints, attendees are limited to two representatives from each college. For information on registration, agenda, and other details, please visit the meeting website.  

Registration is limited to 200 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. If capacity is not reached sooner, registration will close on Oct. 14, 2016.

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Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab have co-authored a new resource, Addressing Housing Insecurity and Living Costs in Higher Education: A Guidebook for Colleges and Universities. This guidebook assists institutions of higher education as they consider, evaluate, implement, and scale up programs and policies to support students’ learning, persistence, and completion rates.  With college enrollment levels high despite stagnant or declining family incomes and increasing college costs, many college students are struggling to make ends meet. Improving the quality of students’ lives is essential to boosting their odds of success in school.  

Drawing on examples from institutions nationwide, this guidebook describes strategies that colleges and universities can implement in order to support students experiencing housing insecurity and challenges covering living costs, such as food and childcare. Strategies include, for instance, establishing a campus single point of contact to connect students with benefits and provide emergency aid. 

HUD has recently explored and promoted a range of strategies to support students, including those enrolled in higher education.  

The Wisconsin HOPE Lab is the nation’s first translational laboratory aimed at identifying new and effective ways to minimize barriers to college completion so that more students can reach their full potential. The lab has published essential research exploring these challenges and identifying ways to support students on its website at

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Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work

A recent report from SRI Education and The Joyce Foundation, Empowering Adults to Thrive at Work: Personal Success Skills for 21st Century Jobs, discusses how evidence-based research provides guidance for promoting personal success skills for adults who are striving to build sustainable 21st-century careers.

As research shows, there are millions of unemployed and underemployed individuals in the United States. Empowering Adults maintains that to build a sustainable career in the 21st-century workforce, no matter the job or occupation, adults need not only academic, technical, and professional knowledge but also a broad set of personal success skills. It is these skills that will enable workers to deal with the challenges, relationships, transitions, and social systems that make up working life.  Among these capacities, as identified by the report, are basic job readiness, self-directed learning, self-management, personal responsibility, effective communication, career management, and everyday problem solving.  Through a coordinated, multifaceted system of education, workforce development, and social services, strengthening the personal success skills of individuals can provide them with “powerful levers for succeeding in the working world.” 

This report (1) offers knowledge about the importance of personal work skills based on the conviction that adults can develop them; (2) charts a path through the research and practical knowledge regarding these skills; and (3) provides actionable steps for research, policy, and practice.  It stresses the importance of a “growth mindset” that understands human ability as malleable and changeable while acknowledging that learning can be “challenging – requiring strong effort, by the learner, effective learning strategies, and support from others.”  

Empowering Adults describes a framework that integrates “two holistic conceptualizations” of skills that promote personal success: foundational components and applied competencies.  The report concludes with recommendations to “address barriers to providing effective and affordable support for the development of the personal success skills necessary to build sustainable careers.”

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