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Several colleges and universities that focus on adult and working learners are joining forces to try to better serve those students and ensure they have access to high-quality programs.

Western Governors University and the Alamo Colleges District in Texas are the first two of what will eventually be a dozen members of the Workforce Education Network, convened by Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions. EdAssist works with about 230 companies to help their employees find educational programs at a network of about 235 colleges around the country. About 400,000 students are using the EdAssist platform this year.

Jill Buban, vice president and general manager of EdAssist Solutions, said the institutions have agreed to work together to identify and develop “high-quality, high-need programs” to educate and train employees at the companies with which Bright Horizons works. The group’s members will also focus, though, on advocating for adult and working learners and addressing national issues such as affordability and ensuring return on investment for students.

“We can get further and farther together by collaborating than by going it alone,” Buban said. “By bringing together like-minded institutions that are focused on success of the adult learner, we think we can help higher education serve these students better.”

On Tuesday, meanwhile, Achieving the Dream and Lumina Foundation announced a series of grants to 20 community colleges aimed at increasing the enrollment of adults from racial minority groups into credit and non-credit-bearing programs. The Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment initiative includes institutions in eight states.