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CAEL Newsroom

CAEL Announces Partnership to Operate The Graduate! Network

Organization That Catalyzes Movement Toward Educational Equity Partners with National Nonprofit Working to Support Education and Career Pathways For Adults to Accelerate Growth and Potential Impact Across the U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS – CAEL (The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) today announced that it is entering a partnership agreement to operate The Graduate! Network Inc. (TGN), a national nonprofit organization devoted to catalyzing movement toward educational equity, supporting the scaling of services to support adult postsecondary completion, and uplifting the voices and experiences of economically vulnerable adults. This new partnership will further the Network’s mission. TGN will bring its practices and programs to CAEL’s growing network, and CAEL’s rich programming will be an accessible option for members and affiliates of the Network. The announcement is the culmination of strategic planning by The Graduate! Network to chart a path that ensures the expansion of the organization’s mission to support economically vulnerable adults to achieve education and career goals, a focus that intersects with both CAEL’s legacy and its latest work to drive equitable economic mobility through optimally aligned education-workforce pathways. These synergies resulted in partnership discussions to integrate The Graduate! Network’s suite of tools, resources, and other assets into CAEL, where they can evolve and amplify both organizations’ impact on partner stakeholders and adult learners.  

“CAEL has always been an important organization in our shared space, and we have been extremely impressed with how the organization has evolved to focus on the full adult-serving ecosystem and its vision to create a future where an adult’s aspiration is at the center of the services they receive,” said Sallie Glickman, co-founder of The Graduate! Network and the organization’s current president and CEO. “Under the visionary leadership of Earl Buford, CAEL will provide a nurturing home and environment to link missions as we look to evolve the support of equitable education and career opportunities.”

As part of this transition, CAEL is excited to welcome Network members as new CAEL members, joining more than 4,500 individuals, institutions, and organizations representing educators, employers, and nonprofits in the education and workforce development sector. In addition to offering capacity building, technical expertise, and opportunities to participate in grant-funded partnerships, CAEL provides its members with access to a highly engaged community of practice where best and emerging practices continually are brought to the fore through research, dialogue, and other collaboration. CAEL member resources also include exclusive membership events, toolkits, professional development, and other benefits. 

CAEL will manage The Graduate! Network’s core portfolio of products and services, including: training curricula that have been honed through more than a score of implementation of the Graduate! model; data tracking adults in their journey to and through postsecondary education; and Bridging The Talent Gap, a proven approach to activating employers and talent ecosystems in support of educational equity. Key Network staff are also transitioning over to CAEL to continue contributing to this work. Following the transition, The Graduate! Network organization itself will be formally dissolved.

“We are honored that The Graduate! Network chose to entrust CAEL with preserving its core purpose, and I am energized by this opportunity to expand our work to connect adult learners with the education-employment pathways that drive individual success and community prosperity,” said Earl Buford, CAEL president. “The addition of Network members, stakeholders, and industry-proven tools truly strengthens the CAEL family and its mission, and we are thrilled to welcome them.”

"The Graduate! Network’s legacy remains alive and well with CAEL as the chosen caretaker of our original vision,” added Glickman. “We’re confident that the organization’s dedication and commitment to educational and economic equity will mean enhanced services for our Network members and, as we look to the future, expanded and improved success for the underserved working adult learner populations that both organizations historically have sought to uplift.”

Learn more about the operational partnership at cael.org.

About The Graduate! Network
The Graduate! Network is a national think and do tank catalyzing movement toward educational equity. It illuminates solutions to the educational inequities facing economically vulnerable adults and activates pathways for those adults to achieve their educational goals. The Graduate! Network amplifies lived experience through data and storytelling, co-creates models for post-secondary completion, and champions policies that contribute to a more just society. Learn more at https://graduate-network.org/ and https://datathatmoveus.org

About CAEL
Recognizing that adult learners are the backbone of the U.S. economy, CAEL helps forge a clear, viable connection between education and career success, providing solutions that promote sustainable and equitable economic growth. CAEL opens doors to opportunity in collaboration with workforce and economic developers, postsecondary educators, employers and industry groups, and foundations and other mission-aligned organizations. By engaging with these stakeholders, we foster a culture of innovative, lifelong learning that helps individuals, and their communities thrive. A national membership organization established in 1974, CAEL is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workplace™ certified and is a part of Strada Collaborative, a mission-driven nonprofit. Learn more at cael.org and stradacollaborative.org.