US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Functional Statements > Office of Career, Technical, and Adult


The Division of Adult Education and Literacy administers the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Title II of the Workforce Investment Act, and has overall responsibility for enabling adults to acquire the basic skills necessary to function in today's society so that they can benefit from the completion of secondary school, enhanced family life, attaining citizenship and participating in job training and retraining programs. The Division has overall responsibility for providing a broad range of services specified in the Act. The Division provides technical and program improvement assistance to National, State, and local adult education systems, programs, and organizations and carries out national leadership functions in adult education. The Director of the Division serves as the principal policy and program advisor on all adult education matters and recommends national priorities in adult education to the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education.
The Division is responsible for administering the Adult Education formula grant program to the States, and providing assistance to States to improve program quality and capacity. Division staff, in collaboration with the Policy, Research and Evaluation Staff, provides day-to-day programmatic direction to adult education research and evaluation programs. Responsibilities include interpreting national trends in the economy, workforce and education as they pertain to adult literacy and developing strategies for translating research into practice for millions of low-level literacy adults.
The Division works with states and other constituents to ensure accountability and effective program performance, assists in the identification and analysis of best practices, and develops strategies for leveraging resources at the community level.
The Division maintains liaison with other offices within the Department, the National Institute for Literacy and other Federal Agencies and develops reports and recommendations for U.S. participation in adult education and lifelong learning activities.

The Division is divided into five components:


In addition to these teams, the crosscutting Primary and Secondary Specialty Areas and the National Programs Resource Area provide support for the work of the Division.  The Primary Specialty Areas are those that are key elements to implementing OCTAE's proposed reform agenda in adult education.  Staff assigned to each specialty area serves as the designated lead for implementation efforts in that area through the organization's functional teams, such as Academic Content (Reading, Writing, Math), Standards Based Reform, FBO/CBO, One-Stops, Distance Learning, Transition, Accountability/Assessment, Welfare Reform, Teacher Quality and Workplace Education/Workforce Preparation.
The Secondary Specialty Areas are those that are identified as important to the overall quality of adult education. Persons assigned secondary areas are responsible for collecting information on the state of practice in the areas and serve as the main repository of information for the area, such as Disabilities, Volunteers, Family Literacy, ASE, English Literacy/ EL/Civics, Student Leadership, and State Leadership.

Accountability Team

The AT is responsible for overall accountability of all grantees of the DAEL and for the Division's accountability to the Administration and Congress. Functions located with the AT include state and local performance accountability, data collection and reporting, audit resolution, financial reports, and negotiations of performance levels as required by applicable Federal law. The AT works with MAT and the regional structure to accomplish its tasks. The Team gathers and compiles data necessary for long-range planning, budgeting and serving adult education programs, policies and priorities in light of future needs and goals. The AT performs all duties associated with internal and external accountability requirements of the Division to include, OCTAE Priorities, the ED Strategic Plan, GPRA, PART and the Report to Congress.
In performing its responsibilities, the AT provides assistance to States in promoting excellence in State reporting systems, planning, and development; reviews annual performance and fiscal reports; reviews and resolves audits; evaluates the effectiveness of State-administered grant programs; and provides national data and prepares reports on needs, accomplishments, and trends in adult education programs and services.


Monitoring and Administration Team

The MAT is a cross-cutting team responsible for providing leadership and support for efficient and effective planning and administration of formula and discretionary grant programs, including the planning and implementation of on-site monitoring, review of state plans, and administrative technical assistance to states. It includes four regional teams that serves as liaison to states for the various resources available and works with the AT in its oversight of grantees.
In performing its responsibilities, the MAT provides assistance and advisory services to States in Adult Basic and Adult Secondary Education programs and in programs for adults of limited English-proficiency; provides assistance to States in planning State adult education programs with special emphasis on serving educationally disadvantaged adults; provides assistance to States on adult basic skills programs, adult secondary education programs, and programs for adults of limited English-proficiency; provides assistance to States on dissemination and information-sharing activities; and promotes adult education services through business and industry linkages.


Best Practices and Dissemination Team

The Team provides national information services for adult education and literacy through the Department's website. The BPDT is responsible for the identification of "what might work," or the practices that may eventually be labeled "emerging, promising, or best practices." The team develops the criteria, processes and levels of rigor needed for "what might work" designation. The BPDT is responsible for coordinating adult education research with OERI's What Works Clearinghouse. It holds the primary responsibility for disseminating evidence based research and best practices into educational programs for adults with basic skills needs.

Innovation and Improvement Team

The IIT is responsible for providing national leadership in fostering innovation and quality improvement in adult education programs. In performing its responsibilities, the Team provides assistance and advisory services to States in the identification of innovative strategies to improve services in Adult Basic and Adult Secondary Education programs and in programs for adults of limited English-proficiency and special population programs. IIT supports projects and initiatives, such as the improvement of instructional programs and services, staff and teacher training, distance learning, English Literacy and Citizenship programs, workplace initiatives, demonstration projects, and other innovative strategies that are being implemented and evaluated for wider dissemination to improve services to adults who can benefit from basic skills instruction.


Office of Correctional Education

The Office provides national leadership on issues and programs in correctional education, including reporting on issues and programs, disseminating information, and providing technical assistance to State agencies and local correctional institutions.  The Office of Correctional Education also administers contract and grant programs. The staff serves as national resources on issues concerning correctional education.

In performing its responsibilities, the Office:

  • Provides leadership and staff support for interagency activities related to education in correctional settings.
  • Provides leadership and staff support to assist in intra-agency coordination of correctional education for the Department.
  • Provides leadership on the collection and interpretation of data pertaining to education in corrections – population characteristics and needs, program services rendered, and impact data.  The Office reports annually to Congress on the activity of the Office and the progress/needs in the field of correctional education.
  • Provides technical assistance and leadership to national organizations, to State and local institutions that are concerned with correctional education, and to the State directors of correctional education.
  • Reviews applications and proposals, makes recommendations for funding, assists in negotiation of awards, and provides feedback to applicants not being funded.
  • Prepares individual project monitoring plans and monitors projects for compliance with awards, for progress in meeting objectives and milestones, for quality of program management of awards, for providing technical assistance to grantees, and for identifying exemplary programs and management practices for dissemination purposes. The methods of monitoring include review of performance reports, expenditure reports, other reports, correspondence, telephone calls, personal contacts, and site visits.
  • Reviews the literature, prepares papers, and represents the Department concerning correctional education.


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Last Modified: 01/29/2014