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Helping Kentuckians Participate in the New Economy: KYVAE, the Kentucky Virtual Adult Education Portal

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Abstract

Adult illiteracy is a serious problem in Kentucky with far-reaching effects. One in four Kentuckians age 25 or older has not obtained a high school diploma or GED, and nearly 1 million of the 2.4 million working adults (40 percent of Kentucky's workforce) perform at the lowest literacy levels, as measured by the Kentucky Adult Literacy Survey. Adults with lower levels of literacy are less likely to be employed and more likely to experience poverty and poor health, which also places their children at risk. Furthermore, the educational skills of Kentucky's workforce hinders the state's ability to attract new business and industry, compete in the new economy, and raise the standard of living for all of its citizens.

In 2000, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted measures to reform the state's system of adult education. The Kentucky Virtual Adult Education Portal (KYVAE) (http://www.kyvae.org/) grew out of the need to reach more undereducated adults with improved access to basic reading, writing, math, and employability skills. Often adults who need education the most are least able to pursue it—difficulty obtaining child care, transportation, or time off from work can get in the way of obtaining an education.

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