Enacted in June 2013, Assembly Bill 86 served as the basis for California adult education and community college programs to jointly conduct an examination of their programs and subsequently identify ways to improve and expand education, training options and opportunities for adult learners statewide.
To create these regional adult education plans, 70 statewide consortia were formed, and the governor appropriated $25 million along with the enactment of Assembly Bill 86. The planning performance period concluded June 30, 2015. Each of the 70 consortia, including the Desert Regional Consortium, developed a regional adult education plan. These plans can be accessed for review on the AEBG website (formerly the AB 86 website). The Desert Regional Consortium plan can be found here.
To set forth the planning, AB 86 called for K-12 school districts to join with the region’s community college districts to form a local adult education consortium.
In the fall of 2013, the state’s Community College Chancellor and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction initiated the AB 86 plan by convening a working group composed of staffs from the two agencies and representatives of local school and community college districts. In December 2013, directions for conducting the work of each consortium were published in what is now known as the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This COE outlined the planning work to be done and set due dates for elements of consortia plans.
On March 1, 2015, final consortium plans were submitted, reviewed and approved. Planning was completed and implementation was to follow.
On June 24, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 104, the major education trailer bill that accompanied the state’s 2015-16 state budget. This measure includes the section that defines the state’s expectations for its new Adult Education Block Grant program.
The Adult Education Block Grant program in AB 104 represents the 2015-16 transition from the planning that took place with AB 86, to the actualization of a new California adult education program supported with $525 million, more than any other state in the nation.
In the Governor’s Budget Summary – 2015-16, investing in California’s Workforce, the tone and challenge are described in the following introductory paragraph:
“As the state’s economic recovery continues, many Californians are entering and returning to the workforce seeking jobs that require more education and training. However, the state does not have a coordinated approach that links efforts of various entities – traditional K-12 schools, adult schools, community colleges, universities, local workforce investment boards, libraries, social services agencies, public safety agencies and employers – and the resources available do not effectively develop skills needed in the workforce. Increasing the resources available and better targeting where they are used will improve the skills of California’s workforce and better meet the demands of the growing economy. Making this investment strategically will also help reduce the number of Californians living in poverty.”