New Report: The Economic ROI of Adult Education Programs

A new policy paper published by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation that was developed in collaboration with the United States’ National Council of State Directors of Adult Education and the U.S. National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium states that “a preemptive focus on adult education actually saves governments money by reducing societal healthcare, public assistance, and incarceration costs”.

The report, “The Return on Investment from Adult Education and Training: Measuring the Economic Impact of a Better Educated and Trained U.S. Workforce,” put it in plain simple language by saying that adult education “improves and expands the nation’s available pool of human capital by helping motivated but under educated people achieve gainful employment in today’s increasingly high-tech and global job market, and at a far lower cost per learner when compared to either K-12 or higher education.”

The co-authors Dr. Lennox McLendon (Executive Director, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education and the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium), Debra Jones (California Director of Adult Education and Chair, NAEPDC Research Workgroup) and Mitch Rosin (Editorial Director, McGraw-Hill School Education Group) have put together a solid 26-page report that is a brilliant combination of statistics and related evidence that ultimately constructs a clear picture of the economic return on investment (ROI) of adult education and literacy programs. The culmination of the evidence they present  fully supports their closing argument:

“Current federal adult education and workforce skills programs need to be better funded, but they also need to be redesigned and connected more effectively to state and local programs. We must have an integrated system of adult education and workforce development that serves millions of Americans in accessible, affordable, and accountable ways – on the job, online, and in the classroom.”

Although this report is focused on the U.S.A. it provides compelling evidence for programs in other countries, too.

This is a report that is worth looking at and sharing.  Download your free copy from here:

Related posts:

The economic impact of language programs on communities

Research: ESL programs boost Calgary’s economy by $26M+ per year


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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