The number of adults who lack skills beyond a high school diploma is a significant national concern. In Kansas alone, there are over 700,000 working-age adults (ages 25-64) with no meaningful postsecondary credential.
With significant concern of this trend continuing, more and more Kansas jobs are requiring workers with some form of postsecondary credential. Magnified by the difficulty faced by employers across the state, struggling to find qualified workers who can fill skilled positions, Kansas community and technical colleges play a vital role in promoting economic prosperity for all Kansans through this successful program.
The Kansas Board of Regents, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, has implemented Accelerating Opportunity in Kansas (AO-K) to transform the delivery system for adult education in Kansas by delivering career and technical education at the same time as adult basic skills instruction within a career pathways framework. Students complete short-term certificate programs aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry-recognized credentials and immediate jobs.
Community and technical colleges across Kansas are implementing Accelerating Opportunity:
- Barton Community College
- Butler Community College
- Dodge City Community College
- Fort Scott Community College
- Garden City Community College
- Highland Community College
- Hutchinson Community College
- Independence Community College
- Johnson County Community College
- Kansas City Kansas Community College
- Labette Community College
- Manhattan Area Technical College
- Neosho Community College
- Salina Area Technical College
- Seward County Community College/Area Technical School
- Washburn Institute of Technology
- WSU Tech
What is Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K)
Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) is an integrated education and training (IET) model delivered in partnership between adult education and career technical education (CTE) programs. AO-K is designed to help students complete career pathways, earn industry-recognized credentials, and begin their careers. Career pathways are approved career technical education programs at Kansas’s public community and technical colleges in which:
- Courses are team-taught with a basic skills instructor
- AO-K pathways are a minimum of 12 credit hours in a high-demand and high-wage occupation
- Institutions provide wraparound support services, including, but not limited to, advising, transition coaching, and assistance in connecting to community resources
- Supplemental instruction is provided
Nationally, IET programs such as AO-K have been proven to help students earn more credit hours, complete programs, and succeed where they may have otherwise struggled.
AO-K Pathways and Credentials List (June 21, 2023)
2023 AO-K Handbook (pdf)
For more information about this initiative,