Adult education conference to focus on access, equity

2019 Adult Education and Literacy Conference to be held July 10-12

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By Katherine Hansen, M.Ed., workforce policy specialist, 804-827-2612,
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The 2019 Adult Education and Literacy Conference (AE&L) will be held July 10-12 at the Blue Ridge Hotel and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia. The Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center (VALRC), with support from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and this year's featured partner, the Virginia Literacy Foundation (VLF), are focusing this year’s conference on “Access, Equity & Opportunity.”

VALRC is a program of the Virginia Literacy Institute, an affiliated institute of the VCU School of Education.

This year’s conference will showcase emerging trends, offer strategies, and share practices from experts in the field that address the three areas of access, equity and opportunity. Conference speakers and workshop presenters will share creative ways to improve access to materials and programs necessary for adults to gain knowledge and skills for success.

Dr. Kate Daly Rolander, VALRC workforce instructional specialist, says that current research explains why economic disparity in Virginia is having such a profound effect on adult education. Based on the Rural Horseshoe Initiative, Rolander says that those living in rural Virginia have a vastly different educational and occupational outlook than those who live in other areas.

Virginia has five out of the top 10 cities in the country with the highest eviction rates, according to research from the Eviction Lab. Eviction rates are one of the leading determiners of educational inequalities, particularly in relation to race.

Conference keynote speakers will include:

  • Judy Mortrude, director of world education for The Literacy Information and Communication System’s Professional Development Center, will share ways that innovations in adult education access are increasing equity and opportunity in Virginia and across the country.
  • Ramona Taylor, president of the Oliver White Hill Foundation, will give a historical and legal overview to access equity, and opportunity as it relates to the life of Mr. Oliver White Hill.
  • Lynn McGregor of The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) will share NCFL’s two-generation learning model which provides opportunities for families to remove educational and economic barriers by creating pathways to success and thus, breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Dr. Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, adult education coordinator in VDOE’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, will open the conference with the state of adult education in Virginia. Her staff will be on hand throughout the conference to speak about Virginia’s most compelling issues, as well as to offer counsel and assistance as needed.

More information is available on the conference website. Online registration is closed, but you may still register in person at the conference.