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Published on : Aug 13, 2014

Looking to address the high levels of illiteracy among adults in Massachusetts, the governor’s office has announced a $15 million plan to boost adult education in the state. 

Presently there are 16,000 men and women on a wait list for basic education programs and English language classes. Of these, the program hopes to absorb at least 2,700 candidates. Three local nonprofit organizations have been chosen to implement the programs that will help people either get into college, get a job or higher salary. The three nonprofits are Jewish Vocational Service, Social Finance and Jobs for the Future. 

JVS will provide services for three-year duration for 900 adults every year, which will include adult basic education, job training, and English classes. Social Finance will raise the $15 million from investors and manage the entire project, while Jobs for the Future will support educational providers. 

The Massachusetts program is based on the Pay for Success model. Investors’ money is channeled into social issues with no initial cost and if a program is successful, the state repays investors along with interest. Programs such as these open doors for people and help them become more self-reliant and independent. The main aim is to educate adults so they in turn educate and influence their children.

A recent example of an initiative that followed the Pay for Success model or social innovation financing, is of the Patrick administration which had investors such as the Kresge Foundation and Goldman Sachs to help provide job training for youth on probation or those just out of the juvenile justice system. The administration generated $27 million for the project.