A-B Tech English Language Instructor Kristin Erhard Selected as State Advocate for Adult Education Fellow

A-B Tech English Language Instructor and Professional Development Facilitator Kristin Erhard has been selected as the 2024 North Carolina State Advocate for Adult Education Fellow (SAAEF). In her year-long role with the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), Erhard will receive training to advocate for adult education awareness and access at local, state, and national levels. She’ll collaborate with state and national leaders and fellow advocates nationwide to educate funders, the public, and stakeholders about the importance of adult education.

Erhard has taught Adult Basic Education and English language learners at A-B Tech for over eleven years. From 2020-2022 she served as a virtual English Language Fellow through a partnership between the U.S. State Department and Georgetown University where she created curricula for adult learners and taught undergraduate and graduate students in India, Mexico, and Panama. She applied to be a North Carolina state fellow this past December with the goal of helping to build adult education awareness and increase and secure funding for adult basic education and adult secondary education programs, which include literacy support, English as a Second Language; and skills and workforce development for underserved adults.

One of the most important issues in adult education today, Erhard believes, is highlighting the impact of adult education on breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and increasing parental engagement in their children’s education. In her new role, Erhard not only aims to highlight the achievements of adult learners in North Carolina, but also to improve recognition and compensation for the educators who help to guide them.

“Adult educators work to improve the economic opportunities of adult learners to support their families, yet adjunct instructors in most North Carolina Community Colleges currently earn unsustainable wages themselves,” Erhard pointed out. “I’m excited to advocate for adult education with politicians to raise awareness on the impact [instructors] have on the lives of our students… I just learned today that the 2023 State Advocate Fellow for Indiana helped secure $23 Million in funding in adult education for her state. I’m really excited to learn more about how she helped make that happen.”

COABE represents the system of 79, 000 adult educators in the United States. It has run the State Advocates for Adult Education since 2012, but North Carolina did not have a state fellow until 2023.

A-B Tech Transitional Studies Director Rebecca Loli said, “We're thrilled for Kristin to pick up the torch and continue advocacy for adult education in our state and in the nation.”

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