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.
On March 1, 2015, final consortium plans were submitted, reviewed and approved. The planning performance period concluded June 30, 2015.
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 (ABEG) program.
The Adult Education Block Grant program in AB 104 represented 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.
The 2015–2016 State Budget appropriated $500 million to California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and the California Department of Education to allocate funding for adult education. The funds will be provided to eligible consortia for the purpose of implementing regional plans for adult education. The intent of the California Adult Education Program (CAEP, formally the Adult Education Block Grant) was to expand and improve the provision of adult education via these consortia.
The CCCCO and the California Department of Education (CDE) are working in partnership to implement the requirements outlined in the CAEP. They will continue to provide guidance and solicit feedback from the field throughout the implementation process.
Currently there are 71 regional consortia across the state that include members from community colleges, K–12 adult schools, county offices of education and a variety of community partners including, but not limited to local workforce investment boards, libraries, and community-based organizations.
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.”