Adult Basic Education
Our Vision: To be a highly valued provider of quality educational programs that offer every adult in West Virginia an opportunity to build skills for success.
Our Mission: To enable adult learners to be literate, productive, and successful in the workplace, home, and community by delivering responsive adult education programs and services.
Students enroll in Adult Education programs for many reasons. Ninety percent of adults cited career or job related reasons for participation in educational programs (Valentine, 1997). Adults enter educational programs to acquire skills needed to obtain a job, advance in their current job, or enter a new career field. The core academics of adult basic education programs include reading, mathematics, English, and computer skills. In addition, the skill set needed for career success by these adults is the same set of skills needed by high school and college graduates. These skills are the 21st Century Skills as outlined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs in West Virginia serve the adult students who did not succeed in the traditional school setting for one reason or another. Before attention was given to special populations, some adults had undiagnosed learning disabilities that inhibited their success in school. In the industrial era, many were able to find good-paying jobs without so much as a high school diploma, and often, the factory-style schooling of the 70’s and 80’s, failed to show any relevance of schoolwork and the real world. As a result, many adults did not complete high school. Adult education programs offered by the West Virginia Department of Education can and do meet the needs of these students. ABE is not a substitute for high school – it is just a different pathway.
ABE programs focus first on identifying individual learning styles and screening for possible learning disabilities. All students set specific short and long-term goals. Students begin with the end in mind. As a result, every student has a sense of direction. As adults, students choose to become self-directed learners and take responsibility for their learning. They look for the relevance of basic academic skills to their own world. For example, in financial literacy, an adult program involves comparison-shopping and personal budgeting. Civic literacy involves registering to vote for the first time or becoming a US citizen. Family literacy involves helping children with homework, and visiting the school to become more involved with children’s activities. Learning is contextual and meaningful.
Job Readiness courses, offered by ABE, empower the adult student to take control of their life by developing high self-esteem, learning to manage time, money, conflict, stress, and crisis situations. Effective communications, both written and oral are critical components of the job preparation program as well as teamwork, and interpersonal relationships. WorkKeys®, the national system for assessing workplace skills is an integral part of this program and successful completers receive the Ready-to-Work certificate. This certificate is issued to students who score Level 4 on the WorkKeys assessments in the areas of Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information in addition to meeting strict attendance and punctuality requirements while in the program.
The West Virginia Adult Basic Education (WVABE) professional development program recognizes that practitioners need to understand and practice lifelong learning. The practitioners’ sense of ownership in their own professional growth is a key element in producing long-term effects on instructional behavior. To encourage this sense of ownership, a variety of elective options are available for instructors to choose from when determining their own professional development needs.
Working in partnership with K-12 educators, colleges, and universities, the Office of Adult Education and Workforce Development has an opportunity and is committed to being part of the 21st Century Initiative in West Virginia to prepare adult students to be competitive in the 21st Century workplace.