Adult Basic Education in Washington


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Adult basic education and literacy programs are an integral part of Washington’s education and workforce system. The Office of Adult Basic Education (ABE), part of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), administers federal and state Adult Education and Literacy funds to local providers, and provides program development training and activities in order to assure quality basic skills services for all students across the State. The purpose of the Adult Basic Education Program is to assist adults in obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary for work, further education, family self-sufficiency, and community involvement.

A range of instructional services are available to adults, 16 years of age and older, with academic skills below the high school completion level or in need of increased English language skills in order to succeed in their communities. Adult basic education develops skills in reading, writing, math, speaking/listening in English, GED® and Adult High School completion, and solving problems in technology rich environments. Washington’s nationally recognized and highly innovative I-BEST programs allow ABE students to transition quickly into certificate and degree programs so they are able to secure living wage positions in the workforce and access higher levels of education.

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA; Title II of the Workforce Investment Act) provides federal funds for services that help adults develop skills such as reading, writing, math, English language competency, and problem solving.

The Division of Adult Education and Literacy, under the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) (formerly known as Office of Vocational Education and Adult Education (OVAE)) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED), administers the AEFLA. AEFLA funding flows from the state to eligible institutions, which include local educational agencies, community-based organizations, volunteer literacy organizations, institutions of higher education, libraries, public housing authorities, one-stop career centers, and correctional institutions.

ABE Advocacy Goals

  • Increase awareness of the benefits of adult basic education and its benefits to students, the community, and the state.
  • Increase awareness of adult literacy programs in the community.
  • Increased awareness of literacy among elected officials.
  • Increased visibility of programs, both in the community and within the college.
  • Raise public awareness of the challenges and issues of adult literacy.

Adult Basic Education Providers and Program Options

Adult Basic Education Programs

Adult Basic Education Program Development Resources

The ABE Office sponsors and coordinates program development activities to support providers in meeting their objectives to move student students further and faster towards their goals.

Council for Basic Skills

The Council for Basic Skills (CBS) comprises all basic skills providers funded through Adult Basic Education at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

Adult Education Advisory Council

Members of the Washington State Adult Education Advisory Council (AEAC) collaborate — as a group and individually — to ensure the availability and quality of adult literacy and basic skills. Membership is comprised of a broad representation of statewide groups and citizens with an interest in adult education and literacy.

If you have questions, please contact the ABE office at 360-704-4323.

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WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges  |  Open 8 AM - 5 PM, Mon-Fri  |  Phone: 360-704-4400  |  Fax: 360-704-4415

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