There is no doubt that Yuma County will do well in the face of adversity when it comes to adult education. It has several great organizations which work well both together and independently. The Yuma Private Industry Council (YPIC) not only provides preliminary evaluations to their clients, but also an opportunity for receiving their GED, job training, and additional certification in other fields.
Arizona Western College and the South Yuma County Adult Education Consortium provides an invaluable service for adults to receive both their adult education and skills training in the course (s) available. Arizona Western College Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is another great resource because with its emphasis on Adult Basic Education, GED and Certification available in several professional areas it is able to provide the support to YPIC, but also to the community as a whole.
Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona is another prime example of an adult education facility which provides the opportunity for adults to obtain their GED.
These are but a few who do a fantastic job in adult education in spite of the false perceptions of the Arizona Legislature. The loss of adult education funds could adversely affect Arizona’s economy because of the estimated 655,000 residents without a diploma. Approximately 38,000 of those residents live in Yuma County.
It should be noted that for 2009-2010 Yuma had 793 people enrolled in GED classes. About 77% or 611 adults obtained their GED and of that number 72% or about 440 who sought employment found employment. The impact on the Yuma community in dollars is significant. If one uses a standard work year of 2080 hours and $7.35 per hour times the 440, Yuma county gains an additional $6,726,720 per year. Imagine what these numbers could mean to the rest of Arizona.
The Return on Investment Policy Paper of Adult Education indicated several factors: a loss of about $9000 in annual income if one does not have high school diploma or GED, GED and high school graduates contributed $5173 more to state and local governments. Another report done in 2009 by Adult Education Services indicated that adults who passed the GED contributed $559 more every year to Arizona’s income, property, and sales tax base.
The impact of the legislature will be long lasting because it will affect not only education, but also social services, corrections, and healthcare. The estimated cut of $4M dollars from adult education will cut into many programs or eliminate them, thus removing any potential for those students to add to the recovery and sustainability of Arizona.
Yuma, along with the rest of Arizona, needs adult education in its many variables from basic education, to certification, to higher education and training so that the workforce of tomorrow can compete in the new job market.