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Adult Basic and Family Literacy Education Regulations

Adult Basic and Literacy Education in Pennsylvania is funded through a combination of state and federal grants, as described below.

  1. State Act 143
  2. Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Pennsylvania Adult Basic and Family Literacy Education Act 143-1986, amended June 22, 2001, P.L. 209, No.44


It is the intent of this Act to provide coordination and broaden the scope of educational activities to uneducated and undereducated adults in this commonwealth and their families, including those who speak other languages, and to provide programs to those individuals who have previously been under served. By providing for the coordination of funding streams and programs across state departments, increased and improved services are provided to adult learners and their families. By encouraging and expanding the availability of adult and family literacy education programs in this commonwealth, these adults and their families will be able to function more effectively in their personal lives and as citizens and be better prepared for training and employment so that they may become more responsible and productive members of society.

Priorities and Considerations
  • Eligible adults who are receiving either state or federal public assistance, or who are unemployed workers or displaced homemakers.
  • Eligible adults in any local area who do not have certificates of graduation from a secondary school and who are not currently enrolled in adult or family literacy education programs.
  • Eligible adults who are members of minority groups.
  • Eligible adults with less than a fifth-grade reading level.
  • At least 20 percent of the annual appropriation shall be used for training volunteer adult literacy education instructors.
  • At least 25 percent of the annual appropriation shall be used for family literacy education programs.
  • No more than 20 percent of the annual appropriation shall be used to provide education to institutionalized adults.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Title II (Adult Education and Family Literacy Act), 29 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.


Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act) provides for the establishment of adult education and family literacy programs that will:

  • Assist adults who are parents or family members to obtain the education and skills that are necessary to becoming full partners in the educational development of their children and that lead to sustainable improvements in the economic opportunities for their family;
  • Assist adults in attaining a secondary school diploma and in the transition to postsecondary education and training, including through career pathways; and
  • Assist immigrants and other individuals who are English language learners to improve their reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills in English; to improve their math skills; and to acquire an understanding of the American system of government, individual freedom, and the responsibilities of citizenship. 

The law requires that the states establish performance goals for six primary indicators of performance:

  • Employment in the second quarter after exit
  • Employment in the fourth quarter after exit
  • Median earnings in the second quarter after exit
  • Credential attainment rate
  • Measureable skill gains
  • Effectiveness in servicing employers  

A portion of the funds awarded under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 is used for integrated English literacy and civics education services to immigrants and other limited English proficient populations, as defined in Section 243 of the Title.

In addition to grants to local providers, the law supports the state agency’s use of funding to provide professional development and technical assistance to build local program capacity. Pennsylvania has established a professional development system to support adult education theory and application in the areas of reading, writing, math, English as a Second Language, workforce education, and learning differences.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act