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May 10, 2022

Western Governors University to Host First Adult Learner Symposium

WGU engages with community partners to remove educational barriers for California’s adult learner population.

LONG BEACH — Western Governor’s University is hosting the first Adult Learner Symposium at the California Endowment in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm. The event will bring together members of the California education community to build a coalition and partnerships focused on short- and long-term degree and career attainment opportunities for adult learners in California.

“We are invested in increasing accessibility and opportunity for as many learners as possible, regardless of their background, motivations, or life situation. This is something that will provide incredible returns not only for the student, but for our society as a whole,” said WGU Regional Vice President Rick Benbow. “The California adult learner symposium is an avenue to initiate the conversation around identifying new sources of talent, like-minded champions, and advancing equitable pathways for all so that Californians can partake in future economic opportunity.” 

Western Governors University classifies an adult learner as older students who don’t enter postsecondary education the same year they graduate high school. According to California Competes Get Ready Report, 19 percent or 5.1 million Californians ages 25 and older, representing nearly a fifth of the adult population, intend to enroll in higher education in the next two years, classifying them as adult learners. This symposium will engage community partners to find ways to reduce entry barriers for adult students and convert them from having no or some college to being lifelong learners. 

Guests will be treated to lunch, an introduction by the Los Angeles Chargers Director of Cultural Affairs, Liliana Perez, and a welcome from WGU's President Scott Pulsipher. 

A representative from California Competes will share data from their 2021 Get Ready report which examines which groups of California adults intend to enroll in higher education or training; which types of institutions they are interested in; whether they are interested in registering online; and how employers, policymakers, and institutions can better support them.

“WGU was designed to bring innovative, flexible, and attainable educational pathways to individuals for whom, traditional higher education has not been historically accessible,” said WGU President Scott Pulsipher. “Through our partnerships within the state, we can provide pathways to opportunities to working learners in California and contribute to the strengthening of the state’s economy and its workforce.”

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