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Program Overview

A description of Adult Education in California.

Adult Education – State Program

The California Adult Education Program serves state and national interests by providing life-long educational opportunities and support services to all adults. The Adult Education programs address the unique and evolving needs of individuals and communities by providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively as productive citizens, workers, and family members. To meet that need, the California Legislature implemented the California Adult Education Program (CAEP), which created a regional delivery system to provide education and workforce services to adult learners. There are currently 71 regional adult education consortia with over 325 K–12 districts and close to 100 community colleges serving adults statewide.

Program Description

The California Education Code (EC) section 84913(a) External link opens in new window or tab. provides that funds apportioned for the program shall be used only for support of the following:

  1. Programs in elementary and secondary basic skills, including programs leading to a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.
  2. Programs for immigrants eligible for educational services in citizenship, English as a second language, and workforce preparation.
  3. Programs for adults, including, but not limited to, older adults, that are primarily related to entry or reentry into the workforce.
  4. Programs for adults, including, but not limited to, older adults, that are primarily designed to develop knowledge and skills to assist elementary and secondary school children to succeed academically in school.
  5. Programs for adults with disabilities.
  6. Programs in career technical education that are short term in nature and have high employment potential.
  7. Programs offering preapprenticeship training activities conducted in coordination with one or more apprenticeship programs approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards for the occupation and geographic area.

Jail Programs

The California EC sections 1900 et seq External link opens in new window or tab. . provide for education to incarcerated adults at county jails in basic education, high school diploma, and English as a second language.

Benefits and Outcomes

Adult education provides lifelong educational opportunities and services to adult learners. These opportunities and services are to address the unique needs of individuals and communities by providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively as citizens, workers, family members, and consumers of goods and services.

Adult Education – Federal Program

Program Description: The federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, enacted as Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, provides federal funding to supplement adult education programs in both public and private non-profit institutions. These funds supplement Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL), and Adult Secondary Education (ASE) programs. The goal of this program is to enable adults to become more employable, productive, and responsible citizens through literacy.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | adulteducation@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 12, 2024
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