You are here

Prospective Grantees


The Office of Adult Education Initiatives was established to provide support and leadership to the field of adult basic education in Colorado. To that end, AEI administers three funding opportunities: the federally funded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), the state funded Adult Education Literacy Act (AELA) of 2014 and the state Workforce Diploma Pilot Program (WDPP) of 2019.

Each grant provides funding and support to local agencies serving adult learners across Colorado.

Upcoming Funding Opportunities


Note (May 7, 2020): Adult Education colleagues, thank you for all the work you are doing to provide stability, normalcy and learning opportunities for our adult learners during this difficult time. CDE appreciates everyone’s patience while we’ve all been working to readjust and reevaluate much of our work at CDE given our new context. It was important for CDE to pause all competitive grant program applications and review processes to support grantees’ focus on the COVID-19 situation and to assess the budget and learning situations for our state. Since then, CDE has assessed each grant program on an individual basis to determine the best path forward.

The AEFLA competition was underway when CDE announced the temporary pause. This grant competition has two stages: (1) eligibility confirmation based on demonstrated effectiveness; and (2) review and scoring of applications from eligible organizations. CDE completed the eligibility confirmation phase on March 4, 2020 and sent decision memos to applicants. CDE reviewed recent guidance where the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) gave states the option of continuing or suspending this year’s grant competition.  Because CDE already completed the first phase of the competition—eligibility determinations based on specific performance criteria—we have concluded that the more appropriate course is to move forward. USDOE tasked CDE with increasing the rigor of its demonstrated effectiveness. CDE worked closely with USDOE to redesign its application and align its processes with federal requirements to ensure funding for Colorado. Application revisions were required by USDOE in their Program Review Report and resulting Corrective Action Plan from an October 2018 virtual monitoring visit.

After consulting with the U.S. Department of Education and CDE grant leadership, CDE is resuming the AEFLA competition for FY 2020-2024. The competition will resume where it left off, with adjusted deadlines. For eligible organizations, the AEFLA grant application is due on Monday, June 8, 2020. The submission dates and submission process have been updated in the Request for Applications posted below. CDE’s goal is to release Intent to Award letters by the end of July. The award performance period will be July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021. Grant award letters, however, will not be released until September 2020 to allow time for appeals. Please reach out to CDE Competitive Grants ( with questions about the process.

CDE is committed to understanding the needs of our adult learners in Colorado, analyzing needs for services, and determining if there are ways to help fill those gaps as we work with our partner agencies and organizations. We understand that some current grantees were not eligible to apply for the new grant cycle based on demonstrated effectiveness requirements. We know we are entering into a challenging budget and economic situation in the state, so it will be even more important to understand the needs of adult learners given the impacted economy and workforce. As a partner in this work, CDE is committed to working with the entire field of adult education providers to support adult learners. To that end, CDE plans to provide a list of other potential adult education funding sources by the beginning of July.


Adult Education and Family Literacy Act

Federally funded

The federally-funded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act was reauthorized as Title ll of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in July of 2014. The federal program provides grants to state agencies intended to fund local programs of adult basic and secondary education and English language acquisition in many contexts: Foundational literacy, high-school equivalency, family literacy, integrated English literacy and civics, workforce preparation, workplace education, and integrated education and training. AEFLA is currently operating under continuation funding for 2016-2017.  

2020-21 Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Federal Grant Application Now Available

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Office of Adult Education Initiatives (AEI) is soliciting applications from eligible providers within Colorado to develop, implement, and improve adult education and literacy activities within Colorado by establishing or operating programs that provide a comprehensive service model for adult education and literacy services and instruction, including programs that provide such activities concurrently.

Approximately $6.5 million is estimated to be available for adult education and literacy services under AEFLA (WIOA § 222(a)(1)) for the 2020-2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), with funding contingent on federal appropriations. As is allowable according to WIOA § 222(a)(1), AEI will set aside 15% of the available AEFLA funds (not including available Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education funds) for corrections education to provide adult education and literacy services, leaving approximately $5.6 million general AEFLA funds available for awards through the competitive grant application process in the 2020-2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). Of this $5.6 million, approximately $880,000 is estimated to be available specifically for Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) services for the 2020-21 fiscal year (WIOA §243(a)).

CDE anticipates awarding 20-30 four-year grants. Note: Applicants must demonstrate a match of 40% of the funds requested.

The Grant application requires a Confirmation of Eligibility. Only applicants whose eligibility is confirmed in the relevant proposed service type(s) will be eligible to submit an application that may be moved on for scoring consideration (if the application is complete). Eligibility Confirmations are due Monday, February 24, 2020.

Unit: Adult Education Initiatives

  • Timeline

    • Release Date: January 31, 2020

    • An initial eligibility confirmation webinar was held Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 2 pm MT. Prospective applicants can access the eligibility confirmation webinar recording here

    • Follow-up Q&A session: Friday, February 21, 2020 from 12:30-1:30 pm MT. Please call into the following conference line: 866-255-9038.

    • Eligibility Confirmation due: Monday, February 24th, 2020 at 11:59 pm MT.

    • An application training webinar was held on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 2 pm MT. Applicants can access the application training webinar recording here

    • Application Due: Monday, June 8, 2020 at 11:59 pm MT

As a result of the eligibility confirmation process, eligibility to apply for the AEFLA grant has been confirmed for the following applicants:

  • Asian Pacific Development Center
  • Colorado Department of Corrections
  • Colorado Northwestern Community College 
  • Community Educational Outreach
  • Department of Youth Services
  • Durango Adult Education Center
  • Jeffco Schools Adult ESL and Literacy
  • Mesa County Libraries Literacy Center
  • Metropolitan State University Family Literacy Program
  • Montrose Adult Education Center
  • Northeastern Junior College
  • Pikes Peak Library District- Adult Education
  • School District 11- Adult and Family Education
  • SEL Tutoring
  • The Learning Source
  • TSJC Adult Education Services 

Please note: The AEFLA RFA competition is currently in progress. The applicants listed above are not guaranteed awards. After the outcome of the competition has been determined, AEI will post the award recipients.


Adult Education and Literacy Act

State funded

The Adult Education and Literacy Act of 2014 (HB 14-1085) is a state-funded Adult Workforce Partnership Initiative, administered by the Colorado Department of Education. The Act established the Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Grant Program that awards state funds for public and private nonprofit adult education and literacy programs that serve as lead agencies and fiscal agents for Adult Workforce Partnerships. AELA is currently operating in a three-year grant window. 

Funding Opportunity

2020-2021 Adult Literacy and Education Grant Update

The Expand Adult Education Grant Program (SB20-009) was signed into law on July 8, 2020 and builds on the original Adult Education and Literacy Act of 2014 (HB 14-1085). Before passage of the act, the adult education and literacy grant program was focused on workforce development partnerships to provide adult education that leads to increased levels of employment. The act recognizes that, in addition to increasing employment, adult education is necessary to ensure an adult population that is better prepared to support the educational attainment of the next generation and actively participate as citizens in a democratic society.

The act expands the grant program to provide grants to adult education providers that enter into an education attainment partnership with elementary and secondary education providers or higher education providers to assist adults in attaining basic literacy and numeracy skills that lead to additional skill acquisition and may lead to postsecondary credentials and employment and that assist adults in providing academic support to their own children or to children for whom they provide care. The act allows the State Board of Education, in awarding grants, to give preference to adult education programs that serve populations that are underserved by federal funding.

CDE is fully committed to implementing the legislation as quickly as possible. Because the bill makes adjustments to things such as eligibility criteria, application requirements and award priorities, the State Board of Education needs to amend its current rules for the grant program. The law also requires the State Board of Education to develop rules for the program: “The state board, in accordance with the "State Administrative Procedure Act", article 4 of title 24, shall promulgate rules to implement the grant program…” (C.R.S. 22-10-104(1)(b)). To be consistent with state law around the administrative process, rulemaking will take a few months (see the Rulemaking webpage for more details about the rulemaking process). Once the rules are finalized, CDE will release a Request for Applications. The goal is to release the Request for Applications in January 2021.