Business-Adult Education Partnerships Toolkit: Adult Education Providers

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Adult educators are the nexus between basic skill learners looking for knowledge and credentials to support family-wage work and local businesses seeking assistance with workforce recruitment and training. In collaboration with local business leaders and community partners, Adult Education teachers can help prepare adult learners for long-term job growth and career success.

Why would business leaders be interested in partnering with Adult Education providers?

Businesses engage with educators and other employment and training providers to:

  • Reduce training costs or address a specific training need
  • Create an ongoing, nimble talent pipeline that can adapt to business needs throughout the business lifecycle
  • Help meet philanthropic, diversity, and community engagement goals

Benefits of Partnering with Business Leaders

Partnering with business and industry leaders can help:

  • Ensure your curricula reflects the technical and soft skills currently needed by local employers when adult education providers partner with business leaders 
  • Adult learners gain valuable insights into the local labor market and with contextualized learning, emerge from Adult School with contacts in and relevant skills for local industry. 
  • Demystify emerging occupations – as well as misunderstood industries
  • Develop a regional talent pipeline that keeps adults employed and spurs economic growth

Ways for Adult Education Providers to Contribute

Educators may collaborate with a business owner to: 

  • Raise awareness of the educational and workforce development offerings in the community that can support the business’ needs
  • Help identify academic, personal, and technical skills needed for success in the company and industry
  • Integrate lessons designed to develop the needed skills into the curriculum
  • Invite the business to engage with the adult learners via a presentation, mock job interviews, a class tour of the business, or a work-based learning experience

How to Identify Potential Business Partners

To find your community’s in-demand industries and expanding companies, contact your local economic development board, chamber of commerce, workforce development board or American Job Center. These community-based organizations work closely with businesses to support economic growth in the area. See the Resources page for additional information.

Tips for Implementing a Partnership with Business Leaders

Ideas to help ensure a successful and effective partnership include:

  • Do your research. Where is the business in the business cycle (growing, declining, or stable)? Try to identify the person who has the authority to make partnering decisions.
  • Ask about the employer’s challenges in finding and keeping the right talent. 
  • Communicate the value you bring to the partnership. What relevant courses or programs of study do you offer? How might you collaborate to create new or revised curricula that are responsive to the business’ particular needs? 
  • Keep business partners apprised of student progress, outcomes, and any new courses under development. 
  • Invite feedback on the partnership and offer recognition and publicity to your business partners for their support and participation. 
  • Don’t tackle partnership development alone! Coordinate your business partnership efforts with other education, training, and workforce entities.

See the Resources page for more information.