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We empower adult learners to achieve their educational, professional, and personal goals.

Portland Adult Education welcomes thousands of adult learners each year. Whether you are a native Mainer who needs a High School Diploma, an engineer from another country who needs to improve your English language skills, or a professional hoping to advance in your career... we're here to help you reach your goals.

PAE offers programs designed to prepare Greater Portland area residents for a better, more fulfilling life. We are a wide-ranging community program that brings people and resources together for academic, English for speakers of other languages, job skills training or personal enrichment courses. Classes are held throughout the city at different times. You have choices and opportunities at your Portland Adult Education Program.

PAE offers affordable courses to the community, yet it represents only 1% of the Portland Public School budget. Grants, contracts and state funding comprise 60% of PAE’s budget.

Portland Adult Education
Portland Adult Education
14 Locust Street

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 - 7:00 (closed 12:30-1:30)
Fridays: 8:00-12:00

The Enrichment program sustains itself with student fees, and Job Skills course fees provide 50% of the revenue needed to run this workforce training and readiness program.

Our Job Skills courses, also housed at Cathedral School, prepare individuals for a more fulfilling career. If you want to gain skills for an entry level job, improve your skills for a promotion or reenter the workplace, we have classes from Excel to Medical Terminology that will help get you there.

Our Enrichment courses take place in various Portland schools and centers throughout town. If you would like to learn a new language, join an exercise class or brush up on your art skills, we have a class for you.

Would you like to increase your English language fluency; earn credits for your High School Diploma; improve your skills for college or a career; prepare for the HiSet or Accuplacer test? The Academic program at PAE can help you with all of these things. It includes classes in English, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.

Approximately 30% of PAE students are parents and model learning for their children by taking classes at PAE. Whether or not you have children in Portland schools, PAE works for you. Like most Portland residents and taxpayers, the majority of PAE students do not have children in schools, but they utilize school facilities and benefit from a rich array of learning options at PAE.

PAE also offers a program assuring that homeless youth have free access to an appropriate public education. Street Academy is located at the Preble Street Teen Center on Cumberland Avenue in Portland.

Our History

PAE started in 1848 with a $120.00 budget to provide instruction in reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic and government.  60 students were enrolled and instruction was provided by volunteer teachers.  

In 1924 enrollment blossomed to over 1,200 students with 27 different nationalities represented. Teachers were paid $1.50 an hour.

PAE staff was honored in 1994 by receiving the Secretary of the US Department of Education’s award as one of the top 10 “Outstanding Adult Education and Literacy Programs” in the country.

In 1991, with an operating budget of $1.1 million, over 6,000 students took advantage of educational and job training opportunities at PAE.  400 of those students came from 64 other countries.  

Now, with a budget of over 2 million and the largest enrollment of any school within Portland Public Schools, we teach over 4,000 students in classes that run in four blocks from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Our immigrant population is presently at 1800 students.