Engaging Adult Learners to Increase Postsecondary Attainment Equity in Illinois

On September 28, 2021, the Illinois 60 by 25 Network Organizers and partners discussed strategies to engage adult learners to increase postsecondary attainment equity in Illinois.

In 2009, the Illinois P-20 Council adopted a goal to increase the proportion of adults (25-64) in Illinois with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by 2025. Since that time, Illinois has made progress toward this goal, though this progress has not been consistent across different demographic groups. In recognition of these uneven outcomes, the Illinois State legislature directed the P-20 Council “to update the State’s 60 by 25 goal to include equity-focused targets aimed at closing institutional racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.”

Our current and projected data show that that much will need to be done to address gaps throughout the cradle-to-career pipeline and ensure equitable postsecondary attainment for all Illinoisans. Critical to closing these gaps and achieving emerging equity targets will be engaging more adults in education and training to obtain valuable postsecondary credentials and degrees that will help them access high-quality employment.

In this webinar, State Policy & Strategy Director Emily Rusca shared postsecondary attainment data and a policy overview. Stephanie Bernoteit, Executive Deputy Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education shared about the agency’s new strategic plan and efforts to engage adult learners. Following, Jennifer Foster, Deputy Executive Director at Illinois Community College Board, and Mollie Dowling, Executive Director at OAI, Inc., discussed their strategies and shared resources and lessons learned for engaging adult learners.

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