There is an untapped resource in Michigan that could strengthen the state’s economy. In a recent report for Talent First, PPA found that there are more than 716,000 adults who either do not have a high school diploma or GED, lack basic skills, or lack fluency in English. With adult education, these Michigan residents could add to the state’s workforce.  

“It would make sense, then, to connect more adults to foundational education,” said Kevin Stotts, President of TalentFirst, “This would help them and their families thrive, while also meeting employer needs for talent. The entire state would benefit.”1

In Restoring the Promise of Adult Education, PPA engaged students, educators, and others to understand Michigan’s adult education system.2 PPA conducted a survey, 21 interviews with experts within the state and across the nation, and focus groups with adult learners. PPA also compared Michigan with other states and analyzed Michigan’s system data.  

“In conducting this project, we took a mixed-methods approach. The strategies recommended are rooted in the lived experience of educators and adult learners, as well as the literature about what works best,” said Colleen Graber, PPA’s COO and the manager for this project. 

PPA grouped 21 strategies for improvement into four action categories: system integration, funding, educator supports, and learner services. Together, these areas are vital to addressing access issues and learning needs, and building stronger connections across agencies and providers. 

An executive summary and the full report are available on TalentFirst’s website here

For more information about PPA’s work in this area, contact Colleen Graber, 

1“Michigan misses a talent opportunity by not prioritizing adult education,” Kevin Stotts, TalentFirst, May 6, 2023,  

2 Colleen Graber, Dirk Zuschlag, Michael J. Polzin, and Craig Van Vliet, Restoring the Promise of Adult Education (Grand Rapids, MI: Talent First, 2023).