Skills acquisition to literacy — this month we’re talking adult education in Philadelphia - Generocity Philly


Sep. 10, 2019 2:14 pm

Skills acquisition to literacy — this month we’re talking adult education in Philadelphia

In the upcoming weeks, we will introduce you to some of the adult education providers who impact the lives of adults with barriers to employment, as well as those organizations that offer opportunities for nonprofit pros to develop new skills.

Among the primary providers of adult learning opportunities are colleges and universities, nonprofits and community organizations.

(Photo by Christina Morillo for Pexels)

According to Forbes, $10 billion is spent in the United States every year on adult learning services.

A 2015 Pew Research Center report states that 74% percent of all adults say they are lifelong learners when it comes to personal interests; 63% of those who work full- or part-time (and 36% of all adults) had taken a class or gotten extra training sometime during the 12 months prior to being surveyed.

Majorities of Americans seek out learning activities in their personal and work lives

Meanwhile, according to the American Community Survey, during the 2011-2015 period, Pennsylvania ranked 42nd among states in the share of adults (age 25 and over) with more than a high school diploma.

The Commonwealth’s 2018 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan for Pennsylvania cited that a significant number of those identified as individuals with the greatest barriers to employment  (“individuals with disabilities, veterans, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and those who do not speak English well or at all”) needed to be engaged in adult learning to reach Gov. Tom Wolf’s goal of having 60% of Pennsylvanians hold a college or industry-recognized credential by 2025.

From our Partners

“In 2015, there were about 1.6 million working age individuals with disabilities living in Pennsylvania,” the plan reported. “They account for 12.8 percent of the state’s working age population compared to 11.7 percent nationally. Pennsylvania’s veterans numbered more than 800,000 in 2015 or 7.9 percent of the working age population. On average, more than 45,000 TANF recipients were served each month in 2016. Lastly, in 2016, there were approximately 210,000 individuals who did not speak English well or at all.”

Colleges and universities, libraries, nonprofits and community organizations are among the primary providers of adult learning opportunities for members of this cohort. In the upcoming weeks, we will introduce you to some of those adult education providers, and outline the methods and measures by which they impact the lives of adults with barriers to employment or advancement.

But adult education isn’t limited only to those with barriers to employment. Remember that 63% percent of fulltime and part-time workers that Pew outlined as having taken classes or advanced training? It turns out our readership of nonprofit professionals would find themselves mostly in that group.

In a 2017 survey of Generocity readers, 47% said they wanted to be inspired with new professional ideas and approaches.

In a 2017 survey of Generocity readers, 49% said they wanted to find resources and tools to do their jobs better, and 47% said they wanted to be inspired with new professional ideas and approaches.

So for the rest of September we will also focus attention on organizations and businesses that are offering adult learning opportunities centered on the practices and demands specific to the nonprofit sector, thereby enabling nonprofit professionals to acquire or improve their skills and advance in their careers.

Our second Tech in the Commons on Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at MakeOffices at 17th and Market Streets, is just such an adult learning opportunity.

Developed and organized in collaboration with Comcast NBCUniversal, this outing of Tech in the Commons will center on entrepreneurial skills for nonprofits — including impactful storytelling, pitching to funders and investors, and developing budget and resource allocation narratives. We’ll be releasing more information about it in the near future, but you can preregister here.

As always when we are producing articles on one of our editorial calendar topics, we’d love to hear from you, especially if you are interested in writing a guest column about the adult education efforts at your organization.

We also want to hear from you about which adult education programs or efforts you think are exemplary, and why, so we can publish a list of our readers’ recommendations.

Suggest an adult education effort



From our Partners

A Generocity update, and our 2023 editorial calendar

Stomping Grounds Café celebrates ‘magic’ of coffee in West Philadelphia

Scribe explores oral history in ‘Power Politics’ series, funds emerging media makers


Generocity Philly

Meet Kim Andrews, new executive director for The Fund for Women and Girls

Philadelphia, PA

Fairmount Park Conservancy

Capital Projects Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP)

Director of Development and Communications

Apply Now


Managing Directors: Career Pathways & Community Resiliency

Apply Now

Adult learners need digital literacy, too

How to create a CSR initiative built to last

cinéSPEAK and the future of cinema in West Philly


Generocity Philly

Be the leader to bring a 26-year mission into the future in Chester County

Hybrid (Princeton)

Young Audiences NJ and Eastern PA

Arts Education Administrator (Hybrid)

Apply Now
Philadelphia , PA

Community Legal Services

Communications and Social Media Associate

Apply Now
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Remote, or Hybrid

Regional Housing Legal Services

Staff Attorney, Housing Development Legal Services

Apply Now

Subscribe to Generocity

* indicates required