Did you know that research indicates that by the year 2040, there will be 7,919,901 Texans who will be eligible for adult education services? By the way, that is a 99% increase from 2008.
How do I know this? I learned this startling fact while serving on an advisory council to the Texas Legislature. (See A Companion Paper to A Primer on Adult Education in Texas: Identifying the Current and Future Population in Need of Adult Education by the Texas Workforce Investment Council, published in March 2010.) Just for clarification, to be eligible for services you must:
- be 16 years or older,
- not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law, and
- lack basic education skills to function effectively in society, not have a secondary diploma, and be unable to speak, read, or write English.
Did you catch that? By 2040 there will be almost 8 million residents of Texas who will not meet a minimum level of skills required to perform a vast majority of the jobs we will need to fill in the future. Does this concern you? It certainly does me.
My role on this council is to provide an employer perspective. The responsibility of the council is outlined in HB 4328 authored by Representative Mark Strama and sponsored by Senator Carlos Uresti in the 81st Legislative Session. Summarized: the council is to study, promote, and enhance literacy in the state of Texas. It is an awesome challenge and so directly tied to our ability as employers to have a workforce that possess the skills and abilities needed to maintain and grow businesses in the state of Texas.
I am interested in hearing from other employers. I want to know:
- Do you see adult literacy as an issue within your organization?
- Have you attempted to address this issue with your workforce?
- What did you do?
- Has your company partnered with an organization to provide adult education services to your employees?
Let me hear from you. You can post a comment below or send me a message by clicking on the Contact Us button in the left menu.