adulted_blog (1)Our Adult Learning Beacon Project shines a light on communities using technology in ambitious and innovative ways to support adult learners.

By chronicling our Beacons’ experimentation and iteration as they address common challenges, we highlight what it takes to develop and scale an effective adult learning community across multiple partnerships. Through their work at the leading edge of integrating technology into adult learning, we can understand and amplify new models and practices.

Our Beacons


Building Skills Partnership

BSP facilitates partnerships between responsible janitorial contractors, large corporations such as Google, Facebook, Cisco, Genentech, and the Service Employees International Union. BSP supports over 2,500 low-wage workers a year, mostly Latino immigrants from Mexico and Central America. BSP was recently awarded a grant from The James Irvine Foundation and #GooglersGive to offer 450 tablets through its blended learning model.

Blog: Building Skills for Adults, on the Job and Off

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Public Library

Chicago Public Library (CPL) works with communities throughout Chicago via its 80 branches. The library is a community organization, whose leadership strives to find new ways to educate its patrons to improve their lives and nourish their intellect. They offer a host of classes that integrate technology, ranging from basic computing up to intermediate HTML and CSS courses. In 2015, the CPL central branch established a makerspace geared towards adult learners looking for new skills around 3-D printing, design, and machining.

Blog: Chicago Public Library: The Library as a Gateway to 21st Century Skills

Orleans and Niagara Counties, New York

Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services (ONBOCES)

ONBOCES provides adult and continuing education programs to underserved adults, supporting the community by paying equal attention to the academic and social needs of their clients. The agency works seamlessly with county social services to assist low-income adults with job training and academic classes.

Blog: ONBOCES: Where there is a Need, There is a Way Forward

Philadelphia, PA

The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy (MCOL)

MCOL is part online education provider and part advocacy group that works with over 80 literacy and workforce development programs to help adults with below-basic education levels qualify for jobs, post-secondary training, and education. Earlier this year, MCOL and partner community organizations created myPLACE, a unique network of hubs (including myPLACE online) where adults can improve their literacy, computer skills, and educational attainment.

Blog: Is the Most Effective Education Technology Always the Most Cutting Edge?

Pine City, Minnesota

Pine Technical & Community College (PTCC)

Located in a low-income, rural county, PTCC pushes the boundaries of what a community college can do for underserved adult students. PTCC created an incubator for apps that serve the school and its partners. Recently the college developed an app to train Certified Nursing Assistant students on how to handle real-life situations they face on the job.

Blog: Breaking Down Barriers of Distance Learning through Technology

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI)

RIFLI equips adult immigrants with the literacy skills for upward mobility, engaged citizenship, strong families, and lifelong learning. Recently, it was awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant to integrate workforce development and technical training into Rhode Island’s public libraries.

Blog: Awareness, Assessment, and Access: Improving Adult Digital Literacy

Rural Capital Area, Texas

Community Action, Inc. of Central Texas

CAI is a community-based nonprofit organization that offers adult literacy education, GED preparation, and English as a second language education programs in Central Texas. CAI is incorporating technology into all of its programs, from basic literacy courses to more advanced offerings.

Blog: How a Developer and a CBO Are Making a Difference in Adult Education

Savannah, GA

Savannah Technical College

STC’s Crossroads Campus features a 30,000-square-foot facility with a 5,000-square-foot hangar and four labs designed for hands-on technical instruction. Students can earn certificates and diplomas in aircraft structures manufacturing and repair, luxury craft cabinetmaking, and aircraft electrical equipment repair and installation.

Blog: Accelerating Adult Students Toward Employment