Adult Education in Georgia

Resources for Adult Learners in the State of Georgia

Virtually anyone interested in Adult Education opportunities in any of the 50 United States and/or Puerto Rico (or one of the other U.S. territories) will probably begin his or her quest with an advanced search of the broad topic/category of Adult Education, along with references to the state/territory in which they reside. They might also include some term or terms related to their particular interest, such as literacy, ESL (English as a Second Language), human resources, or technology, which would further refine their search.

In a Google search of “Adult Education in the state of Georgia,” the first link that comes up (below the paid ad links, of course) is the Technical College System of Georgia.

This very process actually highlights the biggest change to take place in Adult Education in Georgia during the past few years. What was formerly the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) in Georgia no longer exists, and its web presence has been replaced/transformed by that of the new system (Technical College System of Georgia). You can still find remnants of the old DTAE system on the Internet, but they are getting more and more scarce.

Online Learners, and Adult Learners in the Workplace among others.

Ongoing navigation of the site reveals preparation for, and administration of, GED testing to be the major focus of Adult Education services in the Technical College System of Georgia. Literacy programs associated with TCSG serve mostly to enable learners to eventually take and pass the GED.

After earning the GED, learners can continue on to technical college and even academic studies if they choose.

In fact, in an effort to encourage those interested in moving beyond a strictly technical education, the state of Georgia instituted a migration of the TCSG from a quarter system to a semester system in Fall 2011, making it easier to transfer credits from technical college to schools within the University System of Georgia (USG).

While the evolution of the TCSG to a semester system may seem way past due, especially considering the USG made the transition in the Fall 1998 term, it helps to remember that the division of secondary education into technical and liberal components comes out of the long-standing debate of whether a liberal arts education holds anything above a vocational/technical education, or vice versa.

So while it may have been a long time in coming for whatever reason, it finally has come and the transition to a semester system will help to streamline course credit transfers and align the system not only with the University System of Georgia, but the Georgia K-12 school system, and educational systems in other states as well. Prior to these changes, students had great difficulty transferring credits to the university level and this hampered many who sought to move into the academic arena.

College that Works

Another initiative taken by the state of Georgia in the TCSG is the College that Works program. Returning to the main page of the TCSG website, note the links to this new partnership between TCSG and the Georgia Department of Labor. The College that Works program focuses on training/retraining underemployed/unemployed members of the workforce, adding another dimension to Georgia's Adult Education services.
This enhances the TCSG's mission of providing skilled workers to major industries throughout the state. To accomplish this, TCSG creates programs directly aimed at filling positions at the local level.

And here is a prime example of how Adult Education in Georgia continues to evolve. Savannah Technical College has designed programs specifically for jobs at Gulfstream Aerospace and related manufacturers and industries. Up until 2012, one could complete the Aircraft Structural Assembly Certificate (riveting) program, but that particular program has now been replaced with a full diploma program based on the hiring needs of industry employers. So as industry changes, so do programs at the technical colleges that serve them. There are times however, when programs are altered due to changes in populations and communities.


For instance, English as a Second Language (or ESL) programs came about to address communications challenges faced by immigrant populations. But what once was simply ESL has expanded to include other aspects of immigrant life. In Georgia, ESL has become the English Literacy/Civics Education Program, thus addressing the needs of immigrants to more fully understand our systems of government. Note too that another dimension coming into focus in this area is citizenship. In fact, on the English Literacy/Civics Education Program page, the subheading reads, “English Literacy/Civics and Citizenship Education for Georgia's Aspiring Citizens,” indicating something is on the horizon to address what is probably the biggest issue surrounding immigrant workers: their immigration status, etc.

Thus, it should be no surprise to learn that in Georgia, when comparing the three main areas of Adult Education which are served by the state (Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English as a Second Language) the one area where enrollment numbers have actually dropped occurred in ESL. Certainly a result of a controversial new state law allowing local law enforcement to question suspects about immigration status, some undocumented immigrants in the state have chosen to return to their country of origin. Some also may have simply fallen “off the grid” and quit going to school or to work.

Whatever the case, ESL enrollment dropped significantly after the law went into effect in May 2011. In an effort to help those whose status remains legal and unaffected by the law, the state looks to encourage citizenship for those who desire to go through the process and this is evidenced by the addition of Citizenship Education into the ESL program. We see how Adult Education in the state of Georgia has done much to address the changing needs of communities and businesses overall. The way things seem to be going, it is reasonable to assume that as life goes on, so will Adult Education in the state of Georgia.

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