Authors: Thomas G. Sticht
This document offers 26 reasons, one for each letter of the alphabet, for investing in adult literacy education.
Many of the reasons focus on the benefits to the overall economy from investments in education. The author points out that a dollar spent for adult literacy education produces many more dollars in returns on investment through improved productivity.
Other sections focus on globalization, health literacy, and the intergenerational transfer of an interest in learning from parents to children. The document concludes with a discussion of the zest and zeal for life that adult education can foster.
The author is a California-based international consultant in adult education and many of his arguments touch on matters specifically related to the United States. However, the document is general enough to offer a starting point for discussing adult literacy in any country.
Lessons in Learning - March 15, 2007
Series: Lessons in Learning
Authors: Canadian Council on Learning (CCL)
The authors of this paper argue that without a strong commitment to and investment in workplace learning, Canada might not have enough workers with the necessary skills to meet future economic challenges.
Canada is falling behind its competitors in ensuring the ongoing workforce training and development, they note. While governments and others can provide support, increasing employer investment in workplace learning and skills development is critical for Canada’s future economic success.
Among the ideas put forward to increase employer investment in workplace learning are a tax credit for firms to encourage investment in training; a training fund, with matching contributions from firms and government; a national training levy; job protection for those who leave to further their training; and greater government support for Literacy and Essential Skills training, as a public good.
The authors also encourage increased support for sector councils and sectoral initiatives, and for the pooling of resources and expertise, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises; increase awareness of the return on investment that raining offers; and active advocacy by business organizations to encourage a training culture.
Authors: The Essential Skills Group
This video, slightly less than three minutes long, focuses on the importance of Essential Skills (ES) for both building a strong economy and helping people lead fuller lives.
The level of a person’s Essential Skills can measured on a scale of one to five. A person with Level 1 or 2 skills will have trouble reading the instructions on a pill bottle, assembling a flat-packed bookcase, or calculating the sales tax on an invoice.
Increasing ES levels by one per cent will make the workforce 2.5 per cent more productive, which would increase Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.5 per cent.
Authors: Edmonton Social Planning Council
This fact sheet examines the impact of small businesses on the economy.
The authors note that Canadian small businesses employ almost half of the country’s workforce, proving that the success of small businesses has a profound effect on the economy.
Statistics show that Canadian firms with fewer than 50 employees accounted for 28 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009, while those with fewer than 500 employees account for about 45 per cent of the GDP.
This report is part of a project that examines the relationship between literacy and income. It was undertaken for the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network (CLLN).
The authors analyzed data from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey and the 2005 to 2009 Surveys of Labour and Income Dynamics to determine the costs and savings associated with moving every Canadian with a Literacy Level 1 or 2 on the international literacy scale to Level 3, the level considered essential to compete in the global economy.
In this document, the authors look specifically at the province of New Brunswick, where they estimate that a one-time investment of $1.032 billion over five years would be required to raise the skills of all adults to Level 3. In return, earnings for New Brunswickers who receive literacy upgrading are estimated to rise by $2.79 billion, or by an average of $4,589 per worker annually.
As well, there would be savings of $95 million because of reductions in employment insurance, workers’ compensation, and social assistance payments.
This document is part of a project carried out for the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network (CLLN), exploring the relationship between literacy and income.
The authors analyzed data from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey and the 2005 to 2009 Surveys of Labour and Income Dynamics to determine the costs and savings associated with moving every Canadian with a Literacy Level 1 or 2 on the international literacy scale to Level 3, the proficiency level required to compete in global markets.
For the province of Nova Scotia, the authors estimate that a one-time investment of $987 million over five years would be required to raise the skills of all adults to Level 3. If that investment were made, earnings for the adults who receive literacy upgrading are estimated to rise by $2.79 billion, or an average of $3,686 per worker annually.
In addition, that investment in literacy could lead to savings of $96 million in employment insurance, workers’ compensation payments, and social assistance paid out in Nova Scotia.
There would also be benefits from reduced health costs, improvements in the quality of life, and growth in productivity, the authors point out.
Perspectives on Labour and Income, Vol. 24, No. 2 - April 20, 2012
Authors: Jungwee Park
This study found that older workers are still significantly less likely to participate in job-related training than their counterparts in the 25-54 age range, even after taking labour market and socio-demographic factors into account.
Among older workers, rates of participation in training were significantly lower for those with lower annual income, low educational attainment, temporary employment, or blue-collar or service jobs, and for those working in the private sector, particularly goods-producing industries.
However, this Statistics Canada study points out that the training gap between older and younger workers shrank over time, with the training participation rates of older workers more than doubling between 1991 and 2008.
While almost two-thirds of the increase in the training participation rate of older workers can be attributed to changes in educational attainment and workplace characteristics, the author notes that there is also clear evidence of a general upward trend in the training rates of older workers.
Authors: Rick Miner
In this document, the author begins by pointing out that the aging of the baby boom generation means there will be a significant decline in the proportion of Canada’s population in the prime working years of 15 to 64. At the same time, the emergence of the knowledge economy demands that the proportion of the labour force with postsecondary education or training must increase dramatically to prevent an economic crisis.
Measures like increasing the total population through immigration and increasing the participation rates of those currently underrepresented in the labour force would help the situation but don’t provide a complete answer, the author says. The greatest need is a change in attitudes towards postsecondary education, and the recognition that the vast majority of young people must acquire postsecondary education or training.
The author goes on to discuss the need for major changes to postsecondary systems; the potential for creating new partnerships among parties that have not as yet worked together; and the ways communities can prepare for the changes they will confront.
This study uses a number of indicators to calculate labour productivity for the tourism sector and, in turn, to determine to what extent demographic characteristics of the labour force affect labour productivity.
The authors found that labour productivity increases with the ratio of capital to labour; the proportion of part-time hours; the share of hours supplied by women; the proportion of immigrant workers; and by the proportion of the most experienced workers.
There are substantial differences in the level of labour productivity across industries. Transportation, which has highest capital labour ratio, also has the highest labour productivity.
A separate study of the combined accommodation and food and beverage services industry, based on provincial data over a 10-year period, found significant differences in labour productivity between provinces. It also found a positive relationship between labour productivity and investment in information and communications technology; public investment per capita; and human capital.
The study is published by the University of Guelph and the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC). For more information about the CTHRC, please click here: http://www.cthrc.ca.
Authors: Suzanne Klinga
The purpose of this literature review is to describe the current need for Essential Skills (ES) development among First Nations, Inuit and Métis people; to look at the state of practice of Essential Skills initiatives with these populations in Canada; and to examine innovative practices to determine potential “markers of excellence” in ES programming. The review is based on online resources, as well as email and telephone research.
The first section of the paper deals with current and historic barriers to Aboriginal barriers to education and employment, and with the convergence between the development of the Essential Skills approach and the growth of self-determination in Aboriginal education.
The author identifies 12 markers that promote success in ES program development and delivery. They include Aboriginal control and ownership of education and training initiatives; strategic partnerships; community involvement; a learner-centred approach; experienced and knowledgeable staff; a holistic approach; adherence to principles of both adult and indigenous learning ; the placement of learning within Aboriginal culture, language, and tradition; and ongoing communication about initiatives.
As well, the author points to the importance of employer involvement and direct workplace experience; establishing evaluation criteria and methods; and promoting the business case for ES initiatives.