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Program Planning —Setting Priorities


You can not meet every need.  How do you determine which needs to address?  Who do you involve in analyzing the results of the needs assessment and recommending priorities? 


Involvement from your key stakeholders is critical in the planning process, particularly as you try to determine what services to offer when faced with limited resources to meet all of the identified needs.  Those stakeholders may include students, teachers (paid and volunteer), local program managers, state staff, your superiors, partner agencies (e.g., Labor, Social Services, Public Health), and vested audiences (e.g., business, labor, civic organizations, faith organizations).


Whether you use focus groups, interviews, surveys, or other processes to determine your priorities, a few fundamental questions can help guide that process:

  • What are the top priorities among the various concerns and needs that were identified during the needs assessment?

  • What do you know about these priorities?

  • Which of these top priorities match with your mission and mandates?

  • Are resources available and/or accessible for addressing these priorities?

  • Is someone else, another group or agency, better equipped to deal with this priority than Adult Education?

  • Who else is already working on this priority? What role or contribution might Adult Education have?  Who might you partner with?


The resources in this collection are designed to help you identify processes for involving stakeholder input in setting priorities and key decision points you need to make along the way.  Click on the hyperlinked items to access resources.


1.       Stakeholder Involvement Strategies

2.       Priority Setting Guides


Contact us: Dr. Lennox McLendon, Executive Director; 444 North Capitol Street, NW; Suite 422; Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email: