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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

ACLS Services

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education funds programs to establish free access to basic adult education services in public school systems, public agencies, and community based organizations across the State. These services are for residents of Commonwealth age 16 or older. Services are designed to enhance the individuals" literacy skills - their ability to read, write, and speak English and to compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function as parents/family members, workers, and members of the community. Eligible agencies receiving funds from the ESE are encouraged to address the needs of clients with learning disabilities. Programs offer activities to prepare students for passing a high school equivalency assessment and moving on to post-high school education or vocational training and/or acquiring or advancing in employment.

Listed below are the programs currently available to eligible agencies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts providing services and/or instruction in adult education and literacy services, family literacy services, Workplace Education, and English literacy programs.

Adult Basic Education
Adult Basic Education (including literacy through adult secondary education and English for speakers of other languages) Grants establish free access for educationally disadvantaged adults, age 16 and older, for adult basic education services in their geographic or ethnic communities in the sixteen Service Delivery Areas (SDAs) across the Commonwealth. These services are supported in a common process using both federal and state ABE funding.
The Adult Career Pathways (ACP) program is designed specifically to support learners with career-related goals and to strengthen their preparation for further education and training. The priority is to assist students in acquiring the academic skills, career readiness skills, and information necessary to gain access to a career pathway. The Department awards this funding through collaboration with regional workforce partners who identify a priority or priorities specific to each workforce region.
 
Instruction in the Adult Career Pathways program integrates the priority or priorities identified by the regional workforce partner with the academic skills needed by learners to bypass developmental education in the post secondary system and to meet their career-related goals.

Adult Education for the Homeless
The Adult Education for the Homeless Program funds the establishment of long-term collaborations between adult learning centers and adult education for the homeless projects at shelters across the Commonwealth. These projects assist homeless adults in their efforts to achieve basic education and literacy skills and self-sufficiency in a stable, safe and secure environment.
The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Community Planning initiative supports Department of Elementary and Secondary Education funded adult education programs in developing and sustaining local ABE Community Planning Partnerships. ABE Community Planning Partnerships are encouraged to include every organization in the community with an interest in providing educational and support services to undereducated and/or limited English proficient adults and their families.
The Disability Services web pages contain Disability Guidelines along with resources, promising practices, and other disability related topics that may be of interest to adult education practitioners and students. The Disability Guidelines map out what is expected of programs and how they can fulfill ACLS requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines should be used as a reference for adult education administrators and staff to ensure program practices and policies comply with ACLS requirements. The resources, promising practices, and other disability related topics could further assist adult education practitioners in the instruction and support of adult learners of all abilities.
Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) funds select Massachusetts Community Adult Learning Centers (CALCs) for distance learning education. Distance learning offers adult learners increased access to educational services and increased instructional intensity for students enrolled in both classroom and distance learning programs. Distance learning prepares adult learners for success in their next steps in college and careers by increasing their technology skills.

The Massachusetts distance learning model is a blended model that offers a combination of online instruction and face-to-face supports. The model consists of hubs and two program options.

  • Hubs: One ESOL and one ABE hub provide distance learning instruction to students referred by Option 1 CALCs and some students referred by Option 2 CALCs.
  • Option 1 CALC: The program refers students to the hub for distance learning instruction.
  • Option 2 CALC: The programs offers distance education to its own students. The program may also refer some students to the hub for distance learning instruction.
Education and Career Planning (ECP) is an important component of adult education programs. ECP includes ongoing advising of students with the goal of college and career readiness and the creation of an education and career plan, a written document developed collaboratively among the student, the advisor, and program teaching staff.
Educational Programs for the Incarcerated
The Educational Programs for the Incarcerated Program uses both State and Federal funds for projects designed to establish free access in correctional institutions to adult basic education services for offenders age 16 and older. Services enhance the ability of institutionalized persons to read, write, and speak English and to compute and solve mathematical problems at a level of proficiency sufficient for them to function in society and develop their potential as individuals and citizens upon release from the correctional facility or institution.
Out Stationing at One Stop Career Centers
Outstationing is the practice of assigning an adult basic education (ABE) staff person (usually the career advisor) to a One-stop Career Center (OSCC) for a set number of hours each week. The ABE staff person, or outstationed coordinator, acts as a liaison between ABE programs in the region and the OSCC. The primary role of the outstationed coordinator is to help current and potential ABE students access services by assisting OSCC staff with intake, assessments, and referrals to local ABE programs. S/he may also plan and supervise ABE class field trips to OSCCs and make presentations about OSCC services to students in ABE classes. To connect with the outstationed coordinator in your region, please refer to the contact list below.

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
FY16 Outstation Contact List
ACLS invests $908,372 in Transition to Community College programs across the state. Housed in 11 Massachusetts community colleges, programs partner with ESE-funded adult education providers to ensure successful transition of adult students into postsecondary education. College for Success and Technology for College courses equip students with the skills needed to be successful in college and in their careers. Intensive advising and the use of student cohorts are also major components of these programs.
Volunteer Tutoring Services
The Volunteer Tutoring Services Program funds support projects delivering adult basic education services. Most volunteers provide instruction that supplements ABE and literacy study in regular programs. Others provide services to learners for whom participation in classroom-based adult basic education services is impossible or unsuitable.
The Workplace Education Program funds eligible agencies that provide instructional services below the post-secondary level for adults (incumbent workers) in basic reading, writing and numeracy, pre-adult secondary (Pre-ASE), and adult secondary education (ASE) including preparation for high school equivalency certification. English for Speakers of other languages (ESOL) instruction may also be provided for limited-English proficient adults.

Instructional services are provided through partnerships among businesses, labor organizations, and adult education providers. Projects are supported with a combination of primarily state and local matching resources for up to three years.


Last Updated: February 3, 2016
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