New Report shows increased workforce need for Adult Basic Education

NE_Appleseed_Icons_Opportunity-128Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289


Report: More investment in Adult Basic Education would improve Nebraska workforce

Hard-working Nebraskans need more skills to compete in changing economy


LINCOLN — A new report released Monday shows Nebraska’s need to invest more in Adult Basic Education (ABE).

The report, Adult Education in Nebraska: The Need to Invest in Our Workforce, released by Nebraska Appleseed, analyzes adult education in Nebraska, and recommends that the state boost investment in ABE to ensure our workforce is equipped to meet the needs of our economy.

Monday, the Nebraska Department of Education will discuss its budget request with the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. In considering budgetary needs, it is important to invest more in adult education, said James Goddard Director of the Economic Justice Program at Nebraska Appleseed and the report’s author.

“Nebraskans have a hard-working spirit and want to contribute to our economy, however a large portion of our workforce lack the skills needed for the jobs available in our state,” Goddard said. “With so many Nebraskans lacking basic skills, it is vital that we invest in Adult Basic Education programs that allow more of our people to get the training needed to support their family and fill needed jobs.”

According to the report:

  • By 2018, 64 percent of the available jobs in Nebraska will require a post-secondary education.
  • Yet, nearly 10 percent of all Nebraskans ages 18 to 64 lack a high school degree or an equivalent.

ABE can help adults get the education needed to fill this skills gap, however, Nebraska currently invests little in ABE. Only 10 percent of funding for ABE programs comes directly from the state. This is not enough to meet the demand for ABE in our state.

“Over 50 percent of the adult education programs, including ABE, have a waiting list for placement,” Goddard said. “This shows Nebraskans are hungry to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the workforce and help our state grow our economy. We must help people access the tools to succeed.”

The report contains recommendations, including:

  • Double Nebraska’s state investment in ABE to $3 million per year. This would allow more students to access ABE in Nebraska, fund additional instructors, and allow additional training for instructors.
  • Continue and expand “Bridge Programs,” which have proven success in helping workers quickly acquire skills and find employment or move on to additional education.
  • Establish a Legislative Resolution in 2015 to study current coordination and make recommendations for improvements. Improving coordination between ABE providers and the Department of Health and Human Services would help more students succeed.

For more information on this report, contact Nebraska Appleseed Communications Director Jeff Sheldon at (402) 438-8853, Ext: 119 or

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