Adult Education & Literacy

The Missouri Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Program provides assistance that helps Missouri adults get the basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens. The major areas of support are Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English Language Acquisition. These programs emphasize basic skills such as reading, writing, math, English language competency, and problem-solving.

Based on the 2000 Census, approximately 756,515 Missouri adults aged 16 years and older are not enrolled in school and did not possess a high school credential. This represents 22.11% of the total population of the state of Missouri. In addition, according to the Missouri State Assessment of Adult Literacy (SAAL) conducted in 2003, 35% of Missouri adults have prose literacy skills at or below the basic skill level. In addition, 26% of Missouri adults are at or below the basic skills level in document literacy and 49% are at or below the basic skill level in quantitative literacy. The Missouri SAAL report defines literacy as.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act of 1998 defines literacy as follows:

 “…an individual's ability to read, write, and speak in English, compute, and solve problems, at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual, and in society.”

The purpose of the Adult Education and Literacy program is to:

 A. Assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.

B. Assist adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children.

C. Assist adults in the completion of a secondary school education.

Adult Education & Literacy instruction is designed to expand the educational opportunities for adults and to establish programs that will enable adults to acquire basic skills necessary to function in society and allow them to secure training that will enable them to become more employable, productive and responsible citizens as well as allowing them to continue their education to at least the level of completion of secondary school.  Many programs offer English as a second language instruction to individuals unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

Eligible students – adults 17 years of age or older not presently enrolled in secondary school (or 16 years old not presently enrolled in secondary school but have completed 16 hours of credit toward high school graduation) and speakers of English as a second language.

Grants are made to local educational agencies, not for profit community based organizations, and other eligible groups based on a competitive application process.