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Collaborating for Completion:

CAEL and the National League of Cities

CAEL and the National League of Cities are offering technical assistance to help cities in select states improve and sustain municipal prosperity through accessible and inclusive education-employment pathways. Municipal Action Cohort: Connecting Adults with Postsecondary and Workforce Success will build diverse regional collaboration to help remove barriers that limit adult learners and workers from accessing postsecondary credentials that empower equitable economic mobility. Thanks to funding from Strada Education Foundation and Kresge Foundation, participating cities will receive all cohort benefits at no cost to them.

What It Is

The Municipal Action Cohort launches in March and continues through 2025. Each city will receive customized data, marketing, strategic planning, and additional technical assistance to develop policies, practices, and programs that lead to greater economic equity in their communities through engagement of adult students. NLC’s and CAEL’s combined experience and expertise will provide cities with assistance in the following areas critical to the success of adult learners and workers, particularly those with some college and who may be close to a terminal credential:

  • Collaboration among city leaders, postsecondary, and workforce partners.

  • Maintaining a vibrant community of practice that shares effective established and emerging practices for addressing the structural barriers faced by adult learners who have been unable to newly engage or re-engage in postsecondary education and training. 

  • Assessing and analyzing the needs and aspirations of adult learners and incorporating their voices to tailor solutions to the unique needs of each community. 

  • Working with city leaders to develop action plans to re-engage adult learners and help them overcome barriers to work-relevant credential completion.

  • Accessing the latest data on in-demand competencies and occupations and ensuring they are aligned with curricular outcomes.

  • Creating innovative policies and practices for recruiting and retaining adult learners in postsecondary education programs that deliver career-furthering credentials.

  • Establishing a thriving, city-led, cross-sector ecosystem of wraparound support for adult learners.

  • Pioneering inventive and scalable solutions that can be foundational in a national movement of municipally grounded efforts to strengthen communities and economies through postsecondary success.


Why It Matters

Too many adult learners and workers are economically immobile, and the lack of a postsecondary credential is a key obstacle to inclusive prosperity. As of 2021, barely over half (53.7 percent) of adults aged 25-64 nationwide had earned a credential beyond high school. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2031, 72 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require postsecondary education and/or training. And according to National Skills Coalition research, more than one-third of workers today lack basic digital skills even as more than 90 percent of today’s jobs require competency with digital skills.

White adults are more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, an inequity that has left generations of traditionally underserved populations without means to achieve their full potential and perpetuated generational poverty. More than 40 million Americans completed some college but no credential. Many of them are nonetheless burdened with debt even as they lack a work-relevant credential and a path to economic mobility. However, within these challenges lies great opportunity that can be realized if we make systemic improvements to the barriers preventing equitable access to education-employment pathways. Systemic improvement begins at the individual level – individual learners, workers, and the communities and cities whose prosperity depend on them.

Download the RFP and Apply Today!

NLC and CAEL welcomes proposals from all cities in California, Florida, Michigan and Texas willing to work closely with postsecondary institutions, workforce development boards, community-based organizations, and other cross-sector partners to implement inventive programs, services, and policies to create a strong ecosystem of support for adult learners to complete credentials on the path to high quality jobs.

Proposal due: February 16th, 2024      

Please direct questions to Rachel Hirsch at rhirsch@cael.org.