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ERIC Number: ED506595
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May-21
Pages: 67
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy
Jones, Dennis; Kelly, Patrick
National Commission on Adult Literacy (NJ1)
At a time when economic competitiveness is determined to a considerable extent by the education levels of a nation's workforce, the United States is at serious risk of losing its edge in this realm. While the U.S. still has the best-educated workforce in the world, the advantage arises because of the superior education attainment levels of the generation that is approaching the age of retirement. Those entering the workforce have not attained the same level of education as their counterparts in numerous other counties. As the other countries show consistent decade-to-decade progress in enhancing the education levels of their adult populations, the U.S. has been stuck at essentially the same level for 30 years. Unless the U.S. finds ways to improve its performance in this arena, it will fall farther behind a longer list of competitor countries. Unfortunately, the mechanisms now in place to deal with the needs of undereducated adults are not getting the job done. Adult education programs are serving but a very small portion of the target populations, and the number of GEDs awarded annually is but a small fraction of those lacking a high school education. To make matters worse, programs originally designed for undereducated adults are increasingly being filled with out-of-school youth--in 2005 fully a third of the GEDs were awarded to individuals 18 and under. Over the past 15 years the trend has been that more degrees (and resources) are going to younger individuals and fewer to those 25 and older. The tools intended to address the learning needs of adults are increasingly being applied to individuals who recently dropped (or were pushed) out of the nation's high schools. The challenge is clear; the country must successfully reengage adults who have too little education (knowledge and skills) to hold living wage jobs. Failure puts the nation at competitive risk. Rising to the challenge will require developing new strategies and new tools. The old ones have proven to be insufficient to the task.
National Commission on Adult Literacy. Available from: Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy. 1221 Avenue of the Americas 46th Floor, New York, NY 10020. Tel: 212-512-2362; Fax: 212-512-2610; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; High School Equivalency Programs; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Commission on Adult Literacy
Identifiers - Location: United States