PA 08-163—sSB 465

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Appropriations Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN ADULT LITERACY BOARD

SUMMARY: This act requires the Office of Workforce Competitiveness (OWC) to establish a 17-member Adult Literacy Leadership Board as a standing committee of the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission (CETC) to review and advise the commission on workforce investment and adult literacy programs and services. It requires the board, among other things, to (1) develop a three-year strategic plan for an adult literacy system, (2) prepare an annual report card on the status of adult literacy in the state, and (3) report annually to the governor and legislature on its activities. The board terminates as a standing committee on July 1, 2012.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2008

ADULT LITERACY LEADERSHIP BOARD

Board Membership

The board consists of seven voting members and 10 ex-officio nonvoting members. Under the act, voting members apparently consist of a:

1. community literacy program director,

2. regional literacy program director,

3. public library representative,

4. literacy outcome study director from a private university,

5. literacy outcome study director from a public university,

6. adult literacy advocacy group representative, and

7. person with experience in literacy research, planning, and evaluation.

(But the act literally ascribes these qualifications to one member. ) The governor appoints the chairperson, who must be one of the enumerated voting members.

The chairperson, in consultation with the OWC director, must appoint the other six voting members.

The ex-officio nonvoting members are the:

1. correction commissioner,

2. education commissioner,

3. higher education commissioner,

4. economic and community development commissioner,

5. social services commissioner,

6. labor commissioner,

7. Office of Workforce Competitiveness director,

8. Office of Policy and Management secretary,

9. regional community-technical colleges chancellor, and

10. state librarian.

The voting members serve four-year terms. The board chairperson may create other positions the board deems necessary for its members. Any four members of the board constitute a quorum and can exercise the board's powers. (The act does not specify whether they must be voting members. ) The OWC may solicit and receive funds on the board's and commission's behalf from public or private sources to carry out its activities.

Strategic Plan

The act requires the board to develop a three-year strategic plan for an adult literacy system in the state by July 1, 2009. The plan must:

1. be consistent with and guided by the planning requirements established by Title I and Title II of the 1988 federal Workforce Investment Act;

2. integrate adult education and literacy with workforce training to establish a comprehensive approach to the state's adult workforce education;

3. include goals for an adult literacy system, including reducing the number of adults in the state lacking a high school diploma or English proficiency by a certain percentage each year for a specified time;

4. define the roles of adult literacy service providers in the state, particularly the (a) governance responsibility for adult education, (b) discrepancies in service delivery and ways to promote regionalized service delivery and community partnerships, and (c) resources for system-wide administration, management, research, and coordination;

5. prioritize services that improve quality of instruction, access, and retention, and identify target populations for services;

6. analyze funding requirements and identify (a) estimated resources needed to implement the plan's goals, (b) current funding sources and reallocation possibilities, and (c) alternatives and new funding sources; and

7. outline funding policies that provide (a) financial support and incentives supporting collaborative service delivery and (b) adequate resources for state-funded agencies with adult literacy responsibilities, including public libraries, to collect, analyze, and evaluate data and conduct research on program effectiveness and best practices.

The board must annually review the plan's implementation and make any necessary revisions. It must update the plan every three years, but the board expires in four years. It must also designate regional planning workgroups, under the regional workforce development boards' direction, consisting of adult literacy service provider representatives and adult literacy service recipients to help develop and review the plan.

CETC's Job Placement Report Card

The act requires the CETC to include in its annual job placement report card information on the status of adult literacy in the state. The report card must identify the major components of the adult literacy system, including adult education, family, and workplace literacy, and provide for each (1) the number and demographics of people served, (2) a description of its funding sources, and (3) performance measures.

Annual Report

The CETC must annually report, by January 1, 2009, to the governor and the Judiciary, Education, Higher Education, Commerce, Labor, and Human Services committees on (1) the board's progress in developing and implementing the strategic plan, (2) the board's recommendations for sources and funding levels to meet the strategic plan's goals, and (3) the adult literacy section of the commission's report card.

Other Requirements

The act also requires the leadership board to:

1. create a vision and mission statement by January 1, 2009;

2. report annually through CETC on sources and funding levels to meet the strategic plan's goals;

3. establish results-based accountability measures and use them to track progress towards the strategic plan's goals and objectives;

4. develop and maintain, with state-agency partners, an online inventory of all adult literacy programs and services offered in the state, including a description of the type of service, the time and place it is offered, and any eligibility requirements or fees;

5. establish standards for adult literacy service providers, including waiting list requirements;

6. require each adult literacy service provider to maintain a waiting list and report it to the board, according to the standards the board develops;

7. promote coordination and collaboration among service providers through regionalized service delivery and community partnerships;

8. prepare information on the status of adult literacy in the state to include in the commission's annual report card; and

9. pilot best practices it identifies through its research and analysis of statewide adult literacy programs.

The OWC may ask state agencies for information, reports, and assistance the board needs to carry out its duties.

Definitions

The act defines “adult literacy services” as services established under Title II of the 1988 federal Workforce Investment Act that are aimed at improving the ability of people age 16 or over who are not enrolled in secondary school to (1) read, write, and speak English and (2) compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family, and in society. It defines “vision statement” as a written projected overview of the state's adult literacy programs and services at a specified future date. It defines “mission statement” as a written declaration of the purpose of the state's adult literacy programs and services, including those that address the goals of helping adults develop reading, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills necessary to be self-sufficient, active citizens, effective parents, and qualified, competitive workers.

BACKGROUND

CETC

By law, CETC fulfills, among others, the roles of state job training coordinating council and state human resource investment council pursuant to federal requirements. It also evaluates the effectiveness of state employment and training programs and develops plans and recommendations to avoid duplication of effort and improve delivery of relevant services.

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