Apply: Submit Your Innovative Practice

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Submit Your Application

Do you think your program is implementing an innovative adult education practice? Tell us about it! The Advancing Innovation in Adult Education project is a five-year effort to identify the most innovative practices in adult education across the country. The Advancing Innovation project team will work with applicants to learn more about how practices are carried out, including the key components of the practice and outcomes for adult learners. The project team may conduct site visits to selected programs. 

Check out our step-by-step application guide and frequently asked questions below and reach out to the Advancing Innovation team for assistance with submitting your practice for consideration. 


The Application Process Series of five circles with icons for a clipboard, sheet of paper, sheet of paper with a magnifying glass, cell phone with a text message bubble, and an award certificate Pre-Application: Use the Checklist for Innovative Practices and coordinate with your state staff to obtain a letter of support.  Application Submission: Submit the Application for Innovative Practices with a letter of support from your state, along with NRS data.  Review and Validation: The Advancing Innovation team reviews and validates applications, and may request further information or a site visit.  Notification: Selected practices are finalized, and the Advancing Innovation team notifies all applicants of decisions.  Announcement: The Advancing Innovation team collaborates with selected practices and OCTAE on national dissemination activities.

Application Dates

  • Round 3 Applicants Notified: June 2021
  • Round 4 Application Deadline: October 2021

Application Assistance

For questions or assistance with the application process, please contact the project team at

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Checklist for Innovative Practices 
Before beginning your application, consult with your state director and use this checklist to help you determine whether your practice meets the Advancing Innovation project’s definition of innovation.


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To submit your practice for consideration, complete the Application for Innovative Practices and attach a letter of support from your state and your program’s National Reporting System (NRS) data.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the program eligibility requirements to apply?  

  • Funding for Practice: Programs must be funded by U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFLA) Funds (WIOA Title II). Any AEFLA-funded entities are eligible to apply, including community colleges, local education agencies, and nonprofits. 
  • Age of Practice: Practices must have been implemented for at least one year. Practices must have been developed or enhanced within the last 10 years. The 10-year timeline for practices provides opportunities for AE programs to submit applications for practices that were created under WIA funding as well as under WIOA. 

What is an “innovative” practice? 

  • A new product (e.g., a curriculum) or service (e.g., inclusion of career and college advising), or significantly improved adult education products or services 
  • A new process for delivering adult education services (e.g., use of online learning) 
  • A new or significantly improved way of organizing adult education services (e.g. integrated education and training) that results in improved outcomes for adult education learners  

What are the application requirements?  

  • Completed Application: Build upon the information from your completed Checklist for Innovative Practices to complete the application.
  • Letter of Support: Applicants must submit a letter of support from the state adult education office. The letter verifies that the program is receiving AEFLA funds and the practice was developed or enhanced in the past 10 years.  
  • National Reporting System (NRS) Data: Programs must submit NRS tables 1-5 for the most recent and relevant program year.  

How can I apply for my program’s innovative practice to be considered? 

  • Advancing Innovation Website:  Visit the website to learn more about programs recognized in previous rounds.  
  • State Office Support: Contact your State Director to discuss support for applying for this opportunity.  
  • Practice Alignment: Complete the Checklist for Innovative Practices to help determine whether a practice meets the Advancing Innovation project’s definition of an innovative practice. 
  • Outcome Data: Collect the data necessary to verify the practice helps improve learners’ outcomes. 
  • Application Submission: Send the completed application,  letter of support, and NRS data to   

What kind of data are you looking for? 

Programs must submit NRS data with the application to be considered for recognition. Specifically, the Advancing Innovation team is looking for:

  • Outcome Data:
    • Data that indicate reasonable outcomes based on the type of practice  
    • Data that are from at least one program year of participation
    • Data from NRS tables or other similar data
    • Data that show positive results for learners 
  • Instructional Outcomes:
    • Outcomes that increase basic skills
    • Outcomes related to earning a credential or diploma
    • Outcomes related to transition to postsecondary education or training

Please see Section IV of the application for examples. 

How do I get help if I have submission difficulties? 

How does recognition by the Advancing Innovation project benefit my program? 

Your program will be recognized by OCTAE and showcased in national dissemination activities, providing you with an opportunity to:

  • Increase brand exposure, both nationally and locally
  • Support your efforts to secure future funding
  • Raise awareness among state policymakers
  • Recruit new students
  • Demonstrate evidence that your innovative practice produces increased learner outcomes

Additionally, selected practices will receive technical assistance to help promote their recognition, including a communication and outreach toolkit, national dissemination through LINCS, and inclusion in Advancing Innovation showcase events.

Is there a funding award for selected practices?  

  • Acknowledgment: Selected practices receive OCTAE recognition. 
  • Awards: Selected programs do not receive funds, reimbursements, or financial awards for their practices.

What is the notification process once an application is submitted? 

  • Review and Validation Phase: The Advancing Innovation team will review, score, and validate applications, and may follow up with applicants for further information or to schedule a site visit. This process takes approximately three months depending on the number of applicants.
  • Notification: Selected practices are finalized, and all applicants are notified of their status.
  • Announcement: The Advancing Innovation team will work with selected practices on public recognition, including national and local announcements, digital and print media outreach, and showcase events.   

The project team will work collaboratively with programs as they move through the process and provide support and technical assistance to selected programs.  

What happens if my program’s innovative practice is selected?

  • The project team will work with programs to learn more about how the practices are carried out, including the key components of the practice and its outcomes for adult learners.  
  • Programs will be asked to participate in a live national webinar showcasing the selected practices.  
  • Selected programs may have the opportunity to participate in activities such as podcasts or virtual site visits to highlight individual practices.  

Other Questions? Reach out to the Advancing Innovation team at with any additional questions or for technical assistance with the application process.