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CAEL’s President and CEO Pamela Tate Talks the National Adult Learner Coalition

Last week we shared an interview between University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) CEO Robert Hansen and EvoLLLution in which Hansen discussed how the recently formed National Adult Learner Coalition (NALC) came to be.

Now, CAEL’s President and CEO Pamela Tate has added her insight into how the NALC, of which CAEL is a member, will reach its goal of advancing the adult learner agenda to expand post-secondary education and credentialing opportunities.

In speaking about how CAEL fits in with the aims of the coalition, Tate stressed the vital role policy plays in supporting the adult learner, a belief that has guided CAEL’s efforts since its inception in 1974. 

"CAEL’s goal is for there to be meaningful learning, credentials and work for every adult. One of the overarching aims of the coalition is to educate stakeholders on the needs of the adult learner—and another is to influence changes in public policy to reflect the reality that the adult learner is the new normal. Those two aims are very closely aligned with CAEL’s mission and vision for the future.

Our partners in this coalition all recognize that true change won’t be possible until and unless the nation’s leaders have the adult learner and the demands of the Knowledge Economy on their radar. We think that our focus on educating stakeholders is really key in establishing the right kind of policy environment—one where a reimagined Higher Education Act can support 21st-century program models based on learning, rather than the credit hour, and an approach to workforce development that involves long-term career pathways rather than just short-term job training."

On the heels of state efforts to increase access to higher education by offering tuition-free access to college, it’s all the more important that policymakers are made aware of the importance of taking into consideration the needs of adult learners—a population that is often precluded from taking advantage of tuition benefits, grants or loans that require full-time enrollment.

To read the full EvoLLLution interview with Pamela Tate, click here.


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