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The Future of America’s Workforce
Posted by Jennifer Paulding on January 04, 2018 in categoryFacts & Research
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It is becoming clear that there is a need for increased postsecondary education and technical skills training within the workforce.

With our country’s evolving workforce, a growing number of employers say higher education remains a primary factor in determining whether a candidate has the right qualifications, certifications, and professional interests to get the job. 

According to recent research conducted by CareerBuilder, a high school diploma isn’t as significant in the workplace as it used to be, and employers are raising the bar for who they will consider when hiring. The research revealed that in 2017, 41 percent of employers hired college-educated employees for positions that had previously been held primarily by those with high school degrees. That was up from 37 percent in 2016. The research also concluded that 61 percent of hiring managers increased their education requirements due to developing technical skills that require more educated employees. 

This means the need for more postsecondary education and technical skills training has grown for everyone, especially adult literacy learners.

The Importance of a Good Education for Students

Various similar studies beyond the one previously mentioned all show that earning a good education grows more and more crucial each year for Americans seeking a fulfilling and financially stable future. Whether it’s earning a high school equivalency, a certification or technical training, or a post-secondary education, education opens the doors to better career opportunities, higher earnings, and new social connections. 

For students, a good education means:

  • A higher income 
  • Financial stability
  • Improved health, wellness, and longevity 
  • Capacity to raise children who believe in the importance of learning
  • Increased civic involvement
  • Personal development

Furthermore, well-trained or educated employees are just as important to employers. An organization with innovative, high-tech equipment and a modern facility can deliver revolutionary products, however without a well-trained, educated workforce, that organization cannot succeed.

Since increasing the education requirements to hire employees, employers have experienced a range of benefits including:

  • An increase in productivity and higher-quality work,
  • Improved communication 
  • More innovation
  • Increased employee retention
  • Revenue and profit growth
  • Increased investment in equipment, advertising, etc. 

The Role of Adult Literacy

The fact of the matter is that there is a multitude of reasons for employers to build a more educated workforce. 

“Roles across the board, even entry-level positions, are evolving and becoming more complex,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Employers are looking for workers with a solid knowledge base and skill set that can make an impact on the business right away.”

Postsecondary credentials and technical training may be the gateway to workforce readiness and landing a higher-paying job to earn family-supporting wages.

Whether an adult who reads and writes at a third-grade reading level is improving his or her basic literacy skills, an immigrant wants to learn or improve their English speaking skills, or a mother wants to pass the GED® test, it is important that literacy programs nationwide continue to motivate students. 

  • There are 32 million adults in the U.S. with basic or below basic literacy skills
  • 13 percent of adults ages 25-64 have less than a high school credential
  • 29 percent of adults ages 25-64 have a high school credential but no college
  • By 2018, only 36 percent of jobs will require a high school diploma or less 

As a network of adult literacy practitioners, educators, administrators, and advocates we need to help and encourage students to achieve their full potential—learning doesn’t stop until their goals have been reached. 

The need for educated or technically trained adults will continue to evolve and grow. It is important to encourage adult learners not to stop at basic literacy, but to acquire as much education or technical training as they can. 

For Adult Literacy Programs





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Steve Reder paper2

New research proves the correlation between obtaining literacy skills and the return on investment related to improving an adult’s life and future.

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