Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced 95 finalists in the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, a $750,000 competition to advance pre-apprenticeships. The adult education providers are invited to join Stage 2 and compete for $750,000 in prizes. The finalists hail from 32 states and two territories, and include higher education institutions, local educational agencies, community and faith-based organizations, and correctional facilities.

Although apprenticeships serve as a pathway into careers across industries, many adult learners face barriers to accessing them. Pre-apprenticeships break down these barriers by equipping adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in apprenticeships — which can expand access to rewarding careers across the United States.

Creating innovative learning and training opportunities

From September to November, the Department invited providers funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act to submit preliminary designs for pre-apprenticeship programs. The challenge received 203 submissions across a range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. Entrants represented 44 states, as well as Guam and the District of Columbia. 

“The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge gives adult education providers an opportunity to develop new pre-apprenticeship programs with the help of expert support and curated resources. We were thrilled by the number of providers that want to offer this type of training — as well as their ingenuity in adapting learning to meet industry needs.”
Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education

What comes next: Finalists invited to join Stage 2

The Stage 2 virtual accelerator will run from February to June 2021. Finalists will have access to a range of digital resources — such as case studies, activities, and webinars with subject matter experts — to help them develop detailed program proposals. A judging panel will review the Stage 2 proposals and select one grand-prize winner and up to five runners-up. The challenge will award $250,000 to the grand-prize winner, and up to five runners-up will each receive at least $100,000. Meet the 95 finalists.

Discover adult education resources

During the second stage, the challenge will share selected materials and resources for other challenge entrants interested in further developing their programs. At the end of the challenge, the Department will adapt and publish materials from the virtual accelerator for the wider adult education community. 

To receive future updates and resources, subscribe to the challenge newsletter and follow Ed Prizes on Twitter.