Top of page
Skip to main content
A better 2024-2025 FAFSA form is now available. Apply Today! Questions? Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Pima’s Adult Basic Education for College and Career Joins National Effort to Get Adults Back to School, Work

Tucson, AZ – Pima Community College’s Adult Basic Education for College and Career (ABECC) division is joining more than 65,000 adult educators in “Move Ahead with Adult Ed,” a new national campaign to enroll adult learners into programs that equip them with skills that lead to high school equivalency and jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage.

Millions of Americans are out of work or underemployed and need to reskill or upskill to re-enter the workforce or pursue their education. The pandemic has intensified the need for services.

An international study indicated approximately 43 million working-age Americans lack the skills needed for many of the nation’s fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs. According to the U.S.Census, more than 22 million adults in the U.S. do note have a high school diploma.

“Adult education students are building the skills they need to succeed in college and career,” said Laurie Kierstead-Joseph, Vice President of Adult Basic Education for College and Career at Pima Community College. “Adult education is key to the workforce infrastructure. We help people reskill and upskill – to not only get back into the workforce but get into better jobs than they had before the pandemic.”

Campaign partners Coalition on Adult Basic Education and the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education also estimate that for every dollar invested in adult education, a community receives $60 back in increased income, property taxes and savings on public assistance and legal-system expenses.

The #MoveAheadWithAdultEd campaign focuses on re-engaging the millions of Americans who are in need of additional skills to compete in the workforce to recover financially from the pandemic. In addition to providing industry skills training, adult education programs teach literacy, numeracy and digital literacy, as well as offer high school equivalency classes.

In Pima Community College’s Adult Basic Education for College and Career program, 4,300 people enroll each year. Among them is Cornell Elem, a small business owner, eager to grow his business but lacking some of the basic skills he needs to be able to write successful business proposals to large companies. After bumping into a friend who had enrolled in PCC’s Adult Education program, he decided it was time for him to return to school.

“It’s hard when you haven’t been in school for 20-plus years. The Pima Community College Adult Education program does not get the credit it deserves in changing people’s lives,” Cornell said. “This program has changed my life. It’s giving me opportunities that I never imagined I would get that will expand my business and give me the respect I deserve. I can now feel comfortable sitting across the table and holding a conversation with other business people.”

Pima’s reskilling and upskilling initiatives also include membership in the Reskilling and Recovery Network, a multistate coalition whose goal is to help low-skilled adults and their communities recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Adult Basic Education

PCC’s Adult Basic Education program provides basic literacy to high school equivalency level classes, English language instruction and testing, serving 5,000 students and testers every year. For more information on PCC’s GED/HSE preparation classes and testing, contact 520-206-7330 or go to


Libby Howell, APR, Executive Director

Media, Government and Community Relations


Back to main content Back to top