Become a Member

Become a Member

Everything you need to develop and sustain leading-edge Community Education programs and services.

Adult Basic Education (ABE) is available statewide at no cost to adult learners and is funded through the Minnesota Department of Education. Each year, more than 300 delivery sites serve approximately 66,000 adult students. About one-half of these students are enrolled in English Learner (EL) programs. Licensed teachers provide ABE instruction and are assisted by more than 1,400 trained volunteers.

In order to enroll in ABE, you must be 17 years of age or over, not enrolled in secondary school, and seeking a secondary credential. You may also enroll if you are currently lacking skills in any of the basic academic areas, including reading, math, writing, and speaking English.

Local contact information related to ABE services can be found on the Minnesota Literacy Council website.

Overview of Adult Basic Education (ABE) in Minnesota

2015-2016 Program Year (Revised December 21, 2016)
Todd Wagner, Minnesota State Director of Adult Education (651) 582-8466
The mission of Adult Basic Education in Minnesota is to provide adults with educational
opportunities to acquire and improve their literacy skills necessary to become self-sufficient
and participate effectively as productive workers, family members, and citizens.

ABE Programs Available

GED® (General Educational Development Diploma): This is the national high school equivalency assessment operated by GED Testing Service and includes a set of four tests: Math, Reasoning through Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

Local Credit Completion Adult High School Diploma: Includes programs for eligible adults that leads to a high school diploma from a local Minnesota public school district.

State Competency-Based Adult High School Diploma: Includes programs for eligible adults based on English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Employability/Career Development and Digital Literacy domains that embeds prior experience, standardized assessment, ABE instruction, and applied and experiential learning options. It leads to a high school diploma from the state department of education and possibly the local school district.

ESL (English as a Second Language): Includes instruction for learners whose native language is not English.

Basic Skills Enhancement: This program is for learners who need goal-specific elementary or secondary level basic skills, such as work-related math, functional literacy (e.g., banking skills), reading, or writing assistance. This program is generally considered a brushup and does not lead to a diploma or GED.

Family Literacy: This is a program for adults and their pre-school children. It features instruction for adults in literacy, parenting, and educational/developmental services for children.

Integrated English Language and Civics Education (IEL/Civics): Civics education includes ESL, work readiness, and contextualized career skills to encourage full participation in U.S. communities and employment.

ABE Initiatives and Priority Program Areas

Adult Career Pathways: Preparing Adults for Postsecondary Education, Training, Employment and Workforce Education. Pre-employment programs to provide basic skills necessary for work are provided at the local ABE site or WorkForce Centers. ABE services are also provided at some local employers’ sites and are designed to improve the basic applicable work skills of the worker. Career pathway programming combines basic skills instruction, counseling, and college prep skills to better prepare students for postsecondary success in credit-bearing or credentialed programs and occupational programs at postsecondary institutions.

Distance Learning and Digital Literacy: Building Adults’ Technology Skills. Minnesota adults can get digital literacy certification and can access numerous distance learning options through their local ABE sites to build their reading, writing, math, employability, and digital literacy skills.

ABE Instructional Content

Core Content

GED/Adult High School Diploma

Supplementary Content

Foundational technology skills
Transition to higher education
Employment readiness/workforce education
Knowing how to learn
Creative thinking and problem-solving
Personal, group, and societal effectiveness
Study skills

Objectives and Outcomes

Adult Basic Education addresses a variety of learner goals. ABE helps learners to:

  • Attain employment and/or better their current employment in order to become self-sufficient;
  • Achieve high school equivalency (GED or Adult High School Diploma);
  • Attain skills and certificates necessary to enter postsecondary education and training;
  • Learn to speak, read, and write the English language;
  • Master basic academic skills to help their children succeed in school;
  • Become U.S. citizens and participate in their local communities; and
  • Gain self-esteem, personal confidence, and a sense of personal and civic responsibility.

Selected Outcomes
The average participant in Minnesota’s ABE system received 140 hours of instruction in 2015 and 33% of ABE participants who had or earned a secondary credential were enrolled in postsecondary institutions within the first year after exiting ABE.

Quick Statistics

Earned a Diploma or G.E.D. in ABE* 686
Entered Postsecondary Education* 2,262

Entered employment* 2,787
Retained employment* 7,589

* Under-reported due to federal cohort procedures and follow-up issues such as mobility and data privacy.

ABE Funding

State funds are distributed to consortia using a mandated aid formula integrating school district population, LEP counts, census no-diploma data, and prior year learner contact hours. Competitive grant funds (one-time appropriations) and ongoing federal ABE funds are also allocated.

FY 2013
FY 2014
FY 2015
FY 2016
FY 2017

State ABE Aid

Federal ABE Aid

Grant Programs (IEL/Civics)



Student Contact Hours

Average Annual Cost/Enrollee