ERIC Number: ED346299
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jul
Do Workplace Literacy Programs Promote High Skills or Low Wages? Suggestions for Future Evaluations of Workplace Literacy Programs.
Workplace literacy programs can support the path toward either low wages or high skills. Instead of the "high skill" path, most U.S. companies follow the "low wage" path. Depending on who is involved, which program goals are selected, and what planning process is followed, a workplace literacy program can maintain outdated workplaces or foster high performance workplace structures. Workplace literacy programs at companies on the "high skill" path tend to be broader and less job specific than in "low wage" companies. They are usually integrated into other worker training and education programs offered at the workplace and are more likely to be part of larger human resource policies. The workplace literacy program planning process is likely to be a top-down, prescriptive process in"low wage" companies. In a "high skill" work organization, basic skills problems are recognized and handled through the participatory process and structure already in place. Policymakers need to support workplace literacy programs and policies that aim to enlarge the five percent of employers that have shifted to high performance work structures. Future evaluations should examine program impact on work organization and employer practices rather than focusing exclusively on learner outcomes. Evaluation efforts need to be more aware of the larger political, cultural, and workplace environment in which these programs operate. (YLB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Published in the July 1991 issue of "Labor Notes," a monthly newsletter of the Center for Policy Research, National Governors Association.