Explores the relationship between recent participation in adult education and labor market outcomes, including employment, income, and net worth, for adults ages 45 to 65.

The study considers whether “continuous learning over the life course is necessary to effectively compete in a knowledge-based global economy” by comparing labor market outcomes for middle-aged and older workers who participated in adult education and training with those who did not (p.1). Using survey data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) from 2010-2012, the study seeks to answer research questions including, “Is there a relationship between participation in formal and non-formal [adult education and training] and employment status?” and “Is there a relationship between participation in formal and non-formal [adult education and training] and higher levels of income and net worth?” (p.5-6).

In addition, the study compares these data from the United States with similar information from the U.K., Germany, Sweden, and Japan. The goal of this analysis is to examine “the characteristics of [adult education and training] programs, including financing schemes, in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, and Japan as compared to the U.S.” and to explore how outcomes including “labor force participation, employment, and income levels” vary across these countries (p.6).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The combination of increased labor force participation at older ages and a shift in the age distribution of the U.S. labor force results in the need for programs and policies to encourage and facilitate work at older ages…Policies that provide opportunities for older adults to participate in [adult education and training] programs are necessary to ensure economic security in retirement, a competitive labor force, and economic growth. Implementation of policies that focus on lower income groups and the unemployed, who are likely the most in need of skill upgrades and most at risk for economic insecurity in retirement, are especially important” (p.25). Additional overall findings that support this need for adult education and training programs include: • “Participation in an [adult education and training] program in the 12 months preceding the survey significantly improved the log odds of both employment and labor force participation” (p.1). • “Participation in an [adult education and training] program...significantly improved the log odds of moving up one income quintile” (p.1). • “Lower income groups and the unemployed were less likely to participate in [adult education and training program] than higher income groups and the employed” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff )