Skip to Content

Adult Education and Literacy

On this page...

Welcome to the Iowa Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEL) page. AEL administers the federally-funded adult education grant program in Iowa, as authorized by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) under Title II of the Workforce Investment Act. Follow the links below for more information about adult basic education services for Iowa adults and their families, as well as resources and requirements for AEFLA-funded program management.

For information about GED testing services in Iowa, go to Iowa GED® Testing Program

About Adult Education and Literacy

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) recognizes that today's workplace presents numerous opportunities and challenges for adults. Employers need workers with strong basic skills and an ability to adapt to change. Today's families are faced with multiple responsibilities as they address their children's educational needs, as well as their own. Iowa’s Adult Education and Literacy programs build skills for success by providing adults with the opportunity to acquire and improve functional skills necessary to enhance the quality of their lives as workers, family members, and citizens. These programs play an important role in fostering productive employment, effective citizenship, personal and family growth, self-esteem, and dignity for adult learners. Educational services are available at little or no cost to adult learners and are designed to meet the educational needs of each individual.

  • Adult Education and Literacy is designed to:
  • Satisfy the basic literacy needs of adults;
  • Improve and/or upgrade information processing and computational skills leading to a high school equivalency diploma or entry into postsecondary education;
  • Satisfy the continuing education demands of adults in the current labor market;
  • Improve self-esteem of adults; and
  • Empower adults to achieve their goals.


Our Mission

The mission of Iowa's AEL program is:
To provide accessible, quality instruction that develops life, work, and literacy skills.

According to the most recent federal legislation, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, Title II, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the qualifications for students are:

  • Adults who are 16 years of age or older
  • Adults who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law; and who:
    • lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable them to function effectively on the job, in the family, and in society, or
    • do not have a secondary school diploma or its equivalent level of education, or
    • are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.
  • Only adults who meet the eligibility criteria above may enroll in the Iowa AEL program.

Services could include:

  • Basic Skills Instruction in reading, writing, math, listening, and speaking;
  • GED® Test Preparation in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts-reading, language arts-writing, and calculator training;
  • Official GED Practice Test™ (OPT) Administration for documenting readiness to take the GED® test;
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages in pre-literacy, reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, U.S. history and government, and cultural literacy;
  • Thinking and Learning Skills Instruction in creative thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, and learning and reasoning;
  • College Readiness Skills Instruction in organization and time management, technology, goal setting, test taking skills, and self-advocacy;
  • Job Readiness Skills Instruction in goal-setting, career planning, personal work attributes, employee rights and responsibilities, job search strategies, and unemployment survival;
  • Life-Coping Skills Instruction in budgeting, nutrition, consumerism, and family relationships and parenting, and
  • Computer Literacy Skills in keyboarding, word processing and other introductory skills.

Adult Education and Literacy Staff Directory

Alex Harris, Adult Education Program Consultant
State Director for Adult Education
Division of Community Colleges
Bureau of Adult, Career, and Community College Education
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146
Phone: 515-281-3640
Fax: 515-242-5988
Phyllis Hinton, State Staff Development Consultant
Bureau of Adult, Career, and Community College Education
Division of Community Colleges
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146
Phone: 515-281-4723
Fax: 515-242-5988

Directory of AEL Programs by Area

Adult Literacy Map Des Moines Area Community College
Eastern Iowa Community College
Hawkeye Community College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Valley Community College
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Northeast Iowa Community College
North Iowa Area Community College
Northwest Iowa Community College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Western Iowa Tech College

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2014 at 7:36pm.