DLLR, MHEC Partner to Expand Adult Education and College Completion


BALTIMORE, MD (March 21, 2011) – Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez, Assistant Secretary for Workforce Development and Adult Learning Paulette Francois and Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Interim Secretary Elisabeth A. Sachs announced today a new partnership between MHEC and DLLR to expand college outreach to the adult learner community.

“In order to pull out of this national economic downturn, Marylanders must develop the skills necessary to compete in the new economy,” DLLR Secretary Sanchez said. “I’m proud that DLLR and MHEC are partnering to expand opportunities to more Marylanders. Together, we are building on the progress that has helped develop Maryland’s best-in-the-nation workforce. I am confident that we can build the world’s best trained and most skilled community of workers.”

This joint endeavor supports Governor Martin O’Malley’s Strategic Education Policy Goal to improve Maryland’s higher education completion rates and narrow the gap in attainment rates between underrepresented minority groups and others. Working with DLLR, MHEC has expanded its regular mailings of financial aid information to secondary and postsecondary education institutions to include Local Workforce Investment Boards and Adult Education and Literacy Services (AELS) providers. Publications can be requested online, and financial aid information sessions are scheduled around the state.

“Financial aid is a key element to improving access to secondary and post-secondary education. Many students do not realize that programs exist to help them pay for their education and training,” Secretary Sachs said. “By expanding our outreach efforts to include adult learners, we’ll be able to bring these learners back into the higher education system and help them complete a degree or attain a credential to enter the workforce. With DLLR and MHEC working together, we will be able to meet the Governor’s goals and produce a highly-educated workforce in Maryland.”

Governor O’Malley’s Strategic Education Policy Goal sets three specific ambitious goals that will improve the state’s commitment to adult education:

  • Increase the number of associate and bachelor’s degrees awarded by colleges and universities in Maryland by 6,500 degrees (17 percent) by 2015;
  • Increase student achievement and school, college and career readiness by 25 percent by 2015; and
  • Narrow the gap in attainment rates between underrepresented minority groups and others by 50 percent by 2015.

DLLR and MHEC continue to explore collaborative efforts to assist adult learners with college access and degree/credential completion. DLLR has agreed to provide a review panel member for retention-related competitive grant programs under the MHEC purview to provide expertise in adult learner retention. Additionally, DLLR plans to meet with MHEC to develop strategies to include links on the Maryland Workforce Exchange to these available materials and expand information designed to encourage learners to take advantage of Maryland scholarship funds. These combined efforts support state initiatives in the Skills2Compete campaign as well as the college completion goals set forth by Complete College America, a national nonprofit working to significantly increase the number of Americans with a college degree or credential of value and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.

For more information, visit the DLLR website or the MHEC website.