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Funding woes continue to hang over NYC adult literacy programs

No new funding resources for adult literacy programs were included in Governor Cuomo’s New York State fiscal year 2014-15 Executive budget. As a result, adult literacy programs struggle to stay afloat. New York City Coalition of Adult Literacy (NYCCAL) continues to advocate for better funding for adult literacy education (ALE), which includes English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, and High School Equivalency (HSE).

Currently, about $5.3 million is designated for adult literacy funding, a $700,000 reduction from the $6 million approved by legislature in 2013.

Last fall, members of NYCCAL went to Albany to advocate for an increase from $6 million to $26 million. The increase would help expand Adult Basic Education (ABE), HSE, and ESOL classes. $2.2 million of that money would increase reimbursement rates for those classes, and professional development. The proposal wasn’t considered in the budget.

In November, Mayor Bloomberg accepted the existing funding for community based adult education which was approved by City Council:

$1 million Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) adult literacy programs
$1.5 million adult literacy initiative
$1 million for ESOL portion of the Immigrant Opportunities Initiative (IOI)

Funding is critical in providing adult learners the education and skills needed to obtain employment. On average, 1.3 million adults in New York City lack High School Equivalency or English proficiency. According to a survey done by NYCCAL, 80% of adult learners are immigrants, and 40% of them make up the City’s workforce.

Source: New York City Coalition Adult Literacy (NYCCAL) Briefing Book

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