MEDIA, Pa. — Margaret Bacheler, director of continuing education at Penn State Brandywine, recently took part in a 14-member state delegation to the National Skills Summit in Washington, D.C.
According to the National Skills Coalition website, the summit seeks to renew public commitments to shaping America’s workforce and education policies, shrink the skills gap that restricts American workers and businesses and engage elected representatives to advance workforce and education policies, especially adult education initiatives.
“Addressing the skills gaps of adult learners is a key component to building the nation’s economy,” said Bacheler. “Degree completion programs focused on aligning education with industry play an important role in preparing the next generation workforce.”
Specifically, the Feb. 5 summit advocated for adult education by focusing on current needs, such as apprenticeship opportunities and equipping American workers to upskill through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Higher Education Act, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
“The summit is meant to develop an adult education agenda to share with local, state and national policy makers,” she said, “especially those who have the power and influence to fund adult education programming.”
Bacheler has been involved with the National Skills Coalition for two years. She has also worked in adult education for 17 years and served three years on the executive boards of the Delaware County and Chester County health care industry partnerships.
“The industry partnerships bring together workforce development specialists, educational institutions and private employers to address skills gaps in the local workforce,” she said.
The summit produced conversations about many practical ways to provide support for adult learners in a university setting, including career pathway development and curriculum redesign.
“Taking an industry-focused approach to career pathway programming is a smart practice,” she said. “This means creating educational programming for entry level workers up to senior level executives, so the pathway for career success is more clearly defined.”
According to Bacheler, educators in the adult learning sector should also consider redesigning education curriculum to become competency-based.
To learn more about the National Skills Summit and adult education programming, visit the National Skills Coalition website.