Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy

Mounting Pressures Facing the U.S. Workforce and the Increasing Need for Adult Education and Literacy

In short:
■ First Time in History—U.S. Losing Ground to Other Countries
in Educational Attainment of Workforce
■ Increasing Demand for Higher Levels of Education Within the
Workforce, Particularly in Occupations that Pay a Living Wage
■ Shifting Demographics Within the Workforce—Race/Ethnic
Populations Growing at Highest Rates Are the:
▶ Least Educated
▶ Most Likely to Drop Out of High School
▶ Least Successful in College

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 countries.

This required improvement will not come easily. The demographic profile of those who will be entering the workforce in the coming decades is very different from that of their predecessors; there will be decreases in the number of whites and increases in the number of minorities, especially Latinos.

These growing parts of the population are exactly the ones that have been least likely to achieve high levels of educational attainment. They are much less likely to graduate from high school--and if they do, they are less likely to attend college and to successfully complete a program of study if they do enroll.

As a result, they represent a substantially less well-educated component of those who are entering the workforce and who will remain in the workforce for many years to come.

It would be a serious mistake to treat the nation's dilemma as strictly a minority issue. The nation's schools and colleges are failing with far too many whites--especially white males--as well. The educational pipeline is leaking seriously at every point:
  • Too few complete high school
  • Too few high school graduates and GED completers are going to college
  • Too few college entrants are getting degrees.
The U.S. will likely be unable to regain its place of primacy by 2025 if it relies solely on strategies focused on traditional-age students. Attention will necessarily have to be directed at enhancing the education attainment levels of adults who have fallen into the cracks of the education system somewhere along the way.


Startling is the simple graph where it states there will be over 8 million jobs opening up, but there will not be enough educated professionals to fill them. This is a huge issue and will only get bigger as time goes on. One of those inconvenient truths.

No comments: