Jacobs Leads Call for Release of Adult Education Funding

February 24, 2021
Press Release

 

(Erie County, N.Y.) – Reps. Chris Jacobs (NY-27), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Tom Reed (NY-23), and Andrew Garbarino (NY-02) are calling on Governor Cuomo to release critical adult education funding allocated by the federal government.

"Adult education programs are vitally important to combatting poverty and providing Americans with skills needed to improve their quality of life," Rep. Chris Jacobs said. "Without the prompt distribution of this funding, many programs face dire financial situations. Many will have to close their doors entirely, and in fact, some already have. Such closures put adults and families that rely on literacy support services in vulnerable positions.”

“Last July, New York State was allocated nearly $50 million in federal funds to support critical adult education programs. Nearly a year later, and only 20% of those funds have been allocated, forcing many of these critical programs to shut their doors and severely cut back on costs. Unfortunately, this is just another example of Governor Cuomo’s terrible, unacceptable mismanagement. The people of New York deserve the funding Congress allocates to them as soon as possible, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” Rep. Elise Stefanik said.

“We cannot allow critical adult education and training programs to close, particularly in the midst of an economic crisis. By providing individuals with the opportunity to learn new skills, these initiatives have an immensely positive impact in the community,” Rep. Tom Reed said. “Enough is enough -- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds must be distributed to ensure these programs remain open and available to our constituents.”

“The last thing Long Island’s adult education community needs during a pandemic are more adult education facilities closing their doors – which is what will continue to happen if the state doesn’t properly distribute these funds,” Rep. Andrew Garbarino said. “Adult education is vitally important to combatting poverty and increasing workforce development for the most vulnerable on Long Island, and now more than ever we must ensure that federal funding is appropriately administered to adult education and skills development programs.”

"Slow, reduced, and withheld payments for work completed under contract on the state's behalf are creating immediate financial crises for adult literacy programs," Kathy Houghton, Executive Director of Literacy New York said. "Programs that have been serving adults and families for decades will have to close their doors.”

Federal funding for adult education is provided to New York under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Funding is also provided by the State through the Adult Literacy Education program. In January, Jacobs led a letter with other New York congressional delegation members calling on Governor Cuomo to release the WIOA Title II funding. A survey of adult education programs around New York State found that 38% of programs would have to close doors if the funding is not released, 52% were unsure, and only 10% were confident they could remain open. These funds impact over 22,000 adult students.

New York was allocated $47.6 million that became available in July of 2020. The most recent data suggests only 20% of the funding owed under contracts has been received in this contract year.

"With the funds available and allocated for these programs, the holdup is unacceptable, especially given how easily fixable this is. This has become yet another instance of mismanagement by the Cuomo administration during this pandemic," Jacobs said. "As a strong advocate for education, I understand how critical these funds are, especially to adult literacy, and I urge the prompt correction of this problem and quick distribution of funds."

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PDF iconA copy of the letter sent by the Representatives can be found here.