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Boston Opportunity Agenda & Adult Opportunity Network

The Boston Opportunity Agenda

Launched in June of 2010, the Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) is a historic partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, and the city’s leading public charities, foundations and other donors—with the community-wide goal of achieving greater opportunity and upward mobility for Boston’s young people and adults.  The BOA’s approach connects proven, leading-edge nonprofit organizations with deep systems change already underway to bring effective programs into the mainstream of the city’s educational systems—for children and adults—and then leverage these programs for the greatest possible impact across the entire education pipeline.  The BOA also sets a national standard for collaboration around a shared set of specific goals, driven by data and accountable through a series of regular reports to the community. 

The Adult Opportunity Network

In 2011, The Boston Opportunity Agenda, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Mayor’s Office of Jobs and Community Services, engaged the National College Transition Network (NCTN)/World Education to lead the development of the Adult Opportunity Network.  The BOA aims to dramatically increase the number of Boston adults who are college and career ready by creating a networked system of adult education providers offering a clear pathway from ABE coursework to postsecondary education that results in a certificate or degree with labor market value. 

In June, 2011, two Adult Opportunity Network Pilot Grants were awarded to the following lead agencies and partners:  

The Adult Opportunity Agenda aligns with NCTN’s college and career readiness framework, which delineates a set of career, college, academic and personal readiness skills and knowledge needed by adults to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and career pathways. The four areas of readiness are:

  • Academic Readiness—  possession of content knowledge, study skills, technology skills, and strategies for college level reading, writing, and algebra. 
  • College Knowledge Readiness—the ability to navigate college culture and admissions and financial aid processes.
  • Career Readiness—the ability to articulate a realistic goal that is aligned with labor market data and identify the steps along one’s education and career pathway.
  • Personal Readiness—the ability to anticipate challenges, secure supports proactively, and juggle multiple commitments while managing stress and time.

The Adult Opportunity Network is establishing uniform standards and protocols while building the capacity of participating instructors and counselors to improve student transitions and documenting emerging promising practices to be scaled up more widely by Boston’s adult education providers.  Together, the two Adult Opportunity Networks  provide a coordinated continuum of shared services that:

  • raises the aspirations of adult learners  and offers the opportunity to pursue a continuum of educational experiences that moves them along a pathway toward their goal;
  • fosters college, career, academic and personal readiness to enable adult learners to enroll and succeed in postsecondary education and training;
  • builds on the strengths and reach of each Opportunity Network partner;
  • enhances and intensifies existing services;
  • is shared, rather than duplicated, across network partners and is accessible to eligible students enrolled at each Opportunity Network partner site.

The networks provide a more efficient service delivery system that will improve the livelihoods of Boston adults and their families, the quality of the workforce for Boston employers and the tax base for the overall community.

For more information about the Boston Adult Opportunity Network, contact Sandy Goodman, Project Director,

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