Modern society requires adults to have strong foundational skills, such as the ability to communicate in English, read and write, work with numbers, and solve complex problems. However, millions of U.S. adults—even some who have earned a high school diploma or equivalent—are below proficiency and struggle to be college- or career-ready. Adult education programs, community colleges, and other providers offer services to help build adults' foundational skills. IES has multiple initiatives to understand and improve the skills of U.S. adults and the systems and programs that aim to support adult learners.
In September of 2021, IES announced a new research network that will focus on understanding, developing, and testing technology-supported innovations for adults with low foundational skills. The CREATE Adult Skills Network includes six research teams covering a variety of learning outcomes, populations, and settings and a network lead that will help coordinate network activities and conduct national leadership and engagement activities.