U.S. Department of Education: Rethink Adult Ed Challenge
The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge seeks to advance pre-apprenticeships. The Challenge will fund Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) providers — including those without prior experience delivering pre-apprenticeships — to design pre-apprenticeship programs that better prepare learners for apprenticeships to succeed in their chosen professions.
Apprenticeships serve as an important pathway to well-paying careers across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, construction, technology, and healthcare. However, many adults miss out on these opportunities because they are not aware of apprenticeship programs or do not have the necessary skills to prepare for or gain entry to them.
Pre-apprenticeships bridge this gap by equipping people with the skills and knowledge – or refreshing knowledge they may have lost since completing their secondary education – that they need to gain entry to, and succeed in, apprenticeships. Pre-apprenticeship program participants learn academic skills, time management skills, technology skills and conflict management skills. Participants may also learn industry specific skills, such as how to use relevant tools and machinery. Programs may also include distance learning and artificial intelligence, so they may go to scale and serve a larger population of students.
The Challenge aims to spur the creation of new pre-apprenticeship programs and increase the capacity of adult education providers to deliver high-quality programs. The Challenge will be conducted in two stages:
- Open submissions: Providers submit preliminary designs for pre-apprenticeship programs. Programs must be designed to lead into an apprenticeship or similar role in an industry with high demand. Up to 100 finalists will progress to Stage 2.
- Virtual accelerator: Finalists have access to a range of digital resources — such as case studies, activities, and webinars with subject matter experts — to help them refine their program designs. Finalists will submit more detailed program proposals.
Amount: $750,000 is available to award one grand-prize winner $250,000 and up to five runners-up will receive at least $100,000 each.
Eligibility: An eligible provider is defined as a provider that receives funding, and is providing adult education and literacy services, under the AEFLA at the time of application and for the duration of the 10-month Challenge. AEFLA-funded adult education providers may include higher education institutions, community and faith based organizations, training providers, and libraries.
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