Literacy Education and the Workforce Essay (Critical Writing)
The current economic changes have made organizations and individuals improve their skills to be relevant during this difficult time of recession. The competition requires organizations to be innovative and move away from the conventional way of doing things to customer based services. This has made organizations set aside a good fraction of their revenue to improve the literacy level of their employees to make them more productive. Adults have also gone back to school to improve their levels of literacy, employability, and acquire possibilities of changing jobs easily. Economic change has also called for the adoption of the best technologies to increase cost-effective production. This radical change in the economy has left illiterate employees with low wages and without a possibility to self develop. Many of them are facing the risk of remaining jobless for a better part of their lives if they fail to do something about their situation. Organizations, on the other hand, have developed a great appetite for professionals with university degrees. This appetite originates from the fact that university graduates can lead organizations to higher levels. The desire for self-development, increased income, as well as raised production in organizations, has made adults go back to schools so that they can fulfill their career dreams (Fisher & Schneider 213).
The current labor market does not provide enough labor force to satisfy this great demand for professionals. Organizations, therefore, have put in place their programs to train existing employees on developing the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies required at the place of work (Fisher & Schneider 212).
Illiterate employees have no other option apart from retaining their currently low paying jobs because of a lack of technical skills. Many have adopted survival techniques in organizations which include leaving all decision making roles to supervisors and managers. Their work involves only the execution of instructions from their seniors (Fisher & Schneider 213).
Creating a skilled and educated workforce
The high demand for an educated workforce has motivated organizations and individuals to come up with methods of satisfying this demand. The first option in creating a skilled and educated workforce is a process of personal development whereby individuals go back to schools and get relevant education to enable them to increase their employability. This guarantees them employment in their adult ages even during this period of recession. Going back to school also enables them to develop and advance their careers or even change employers easily (Fisher & Schneider 215).
Alternatively, an organization can put aside a fraction of its resources to train their employees. This can be done by either taking them back to school or creating an internal program of education whereby employees are trained to have relevant skills which relevant to their job specification. They are then financed and given time off to attend to such programs.
However, the challenge to the above method is the lack of a proper curriculum for adult education from relevant government agencies which makes its implementation difficult. Lack of curriculum also means that few resources have been put aside by the government to support education for adults (Kozol 189).
Furthermore, poorly educated employees are not aware of the benefits they stand to gain once they enroll in such programs. They fail to understand that such programs increase their employability, make them better parents to their children and increase their chances of being retained at current places of work in case employers intend to make changes to the composition of their staff (Fisher & Schneider 213).
Literacy levels in America divide the labor force between poorly educated employees with difficulties in communicating in English fluently and those who are well educated and hold university degrees. The educated with good careers are few. As a result, Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) has enrolled many adults in training programs which are meant to improve their literacy levels, increase their employability, and develop their careers. JVS does this with another aim of increasing the supply of literate professional employees (Fisher & Schneider 214)
The demand for trained professionals is higher than the supply in America and this is a result of technological mile storms that have been achieved in the Twenty-First Century. Many potential employees in the labor market are not properly educated and therefore they cannot take up the decision-making roles of organizations (Kozol 190).
To address this shortage, organizations and employers have come up with training programs to improve the quality of current staff and make them perform their functions effectively. Such efforts have been challenged by the inadequate allocation of resources on adult education programs by the government (Kozol 192).
Illiteracy affects voting and can make a wrong candidate win or the right candidate lose an election. For example, Kozol says “the number of illiterate adults exceeds by 16 million the entire vote cast for the winner in the 1980 presidential vote” (188).
Taking the personal initiative to go back to school is an important step in a person’s life because self-initiated effort gives an individual the energy required to overcome challenges of adult schooling. Fisher and Schneider argue that “individuals may invest in their education and training in the hope that they will learn the skills to economic success” (212).
Illiterates cannot read the warning signs on a cigarette packet. As much as they hear by word of mouth that smoking increases the risk of getting cancer, written information is also important as a means of conveying the same message. Illiterates can never find this additional information (Kozol, 190).
I salute you ladies and gentlemen
Changes in economy and technology require educated people to regularly read books so that they can be at the same level with current technological changes in the economy. The effects of changes in the economy are more severe to illiterate and poorly educated workers. This is because they cannot do their independent research and get their facts as citizens of the world. Such people are then left at the mercies of fate because they have minimal chances of engaging in activities that improve their living standards and those of their families.
Education is the basic foundation of our families and makes us perform better parenting by encouraging our sons and daughters to do well in school, making a positive contribution to our community, and remaining employable in the current hard economic times. We can tap all these benefits even in our elderly years and we can capture the opportunity to go back to school now.
Going to school is therefore not a choice for us if we need to improve our living standards as well as those of our families. Anybody can go to school and learn at any age and education will always benefit them. It is therefore not too late to go back to school and learn.
Fisher, Nancy and Leornard Schneider, “Literacy Education and Workforce: Bridging a Critical Gap.” Journal of Jewish Communal Service 82.3 (2007):210-215. Print.
Kozol, Jonathan. The High Cost of Illiterate Society, Arkansas: Little Rock Publishers, 1979. Print.
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