We join our Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Title II Adult Education partners in celebrating National Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) Week! These resources highlight the critical role of AEFL programs within the workforce system to help build the talent pipeline and meet employers’ needs for skilled workers. Read more below and follow the links to the National Coalition for Literacy and the Coalition on Adult Basic Education websites for more information on #AEFLWeek.

Workers in Declining Industries: Literacy’s Role in Worker Transitions
This performance outcome analysis describes how local economic and workforce development systems can rapidly reconnect workers laid off from declining occupations to high growth jobs. The report analyzes data from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy conducted in 2003. The authors found that barriers, such as low functioning literacy levels and lack of college degrees, prevent workers in declining occupations from adapting to the demands of high-growth occupations, like dental assistants, pipelayers, and physical therapy assistants. The researchers recommend using O*NET to compare the required literacy levels of the declining occupations with those for high-growth jobs. This literacy level crosswalk approach has the potential to help American Job Centers connect laid off workers to new occupations quickly, revitalize economic growth in their communities, and decrease the time and expense of workers returning to school.

Lessons Learned from a State-Funded Workplace Literacy Program
Findings from an evaluation of a workplace literacy program funded by the State of Indiana are shared in this Upjohn Institute for Employment Research report. The program sought to improve incumbent workers’ basic skills through reading, math, critical thinking, problem solving, and computer literacy skills training that took place in ten workplaces across industry sectors. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation data analyses show that adult education resulted in improved program attendance, as well as increases in wages, promotions, and post-program completions. The evaluators also noted participants were more motivated by the opportunities to earn college credits, and the desire to expand their marketable skills, than by the credentials offered by the state education department. Employers reported improved productivity, retention, and morale. Read the full policy paper for recommendations for future, publicly funded workplace literacy initiatives.