OVAE responsibilities cover adult, post-secondary, rural, and vocational education. Its staff creates, manages and administers policies, programs and grants; commissions studies; and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Education, Congress, the President, and the public on how to bring about potential improvements in the quality of education and educational services.
The U.S. government has been involved with adult education, in varying degrees, for more than 200 years. But a great deal of the government oversight of the arena over that time was delegated to the states. After the Health, Education and Welfare Department was established in 1953, a federal office devoted both to adult and vocational education came into fruition. It was called the Bureau of Occupational and Adult Education. After the Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) created the Department of Education, that office became a subdivision of the Department of Education, and was re-named the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.
Stakeholders include administrators, employment agencies and websites, hiring businesses, minorities, parents, politicians, social service agencies, students, teachers, those in lower income brackets, those for whom English is not a first language, those who are handicapped.
(blog, Higher Ed Watch)
As the Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education, Brenda Dann-Messier brings an extensive background in the field of adult education to her new job of overseeing community colleges, adult education and technical education across the country. She was confirmed by the Seantae October 5, 2009.