Adult Education and the Workforce
Investment in Adult Education Pays Off
The Need for Adult Education
Of the 1.1 million adults over age 25 in New Mexico, over 240,000 have not finished high school. Another 162,000 do not speak English or do not speak English well. More than 400,000 adults cannot fully participate in family, work, and community opportunities and would benefit from ABE services, yet our programs only serve about 23,000 per year, or 6% of the eligible population.
Adult Education services are important to many segments of the population:
- TANF clients need a full complement of basic skills to participate successfully in training and obtain a family-sustaining job.
- The most effective preparation program is a combination of basic-skills training (including “soft” skills) and occupational training.
- American businesses lose more than $60 Billion each year in productivity due to employee basic-skill deficiencies.
- Today, many jobs require advanced skills. Successful employers hold workplace adult-education classes at their worksites to upgrade employee basic skills and English literacy.
- Public schools produce only 2% of the workforce each year. Immigrants make up a large percentage of the workforce. Adult Education helps ensure that employees acquire basic job skills and abilities.
- Children of parents who are unemployed or have not completed high school are five times more likely to drop out than children of employed parents.
- Children’s literacy levels are strongly linked to the literacy levels of their parents, especially their mothers.
- Increasing numbers of 16-18 year olds leave school and come to Adult Education – their only alternative.
- 46% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate in dealing with the health care system.
- AMA states that individuals with low health literacy incur medical expenses that are up to four times greater than patients with adequate literacy skills. This costs the health care system Billions each year in unnecessary doctor visits and hospital stays.
Participation in correctional education reduces re-arrests, re-convictions, and re-incarceration.
- Immigrants: 34% of NM Adult Education enrollees are non-natives, seeking to improve their English literacy and cultural understanding.
- Learning Disabled: 50% of adults without a high school diploma are learning disabled. These adults were not lazy or uncaring about school. They have average or above intelligence. The fact is that traditional teaching methods have not been successful with this population. These students have been left behind and deserve another chance.
Adult Education Results
In 2009-10, 23,248 adults received educational services through 27 adult education administrative centers: 22 educational institutions, 4 community-based organizations and 1 corrections bureau. Of the 22 educational institutions, 19 are State public post-secondary institutions and 3 are tribal colleges.
Last year’s results:
- 1,272 previously unemployed students obtained jobs
- 1,029 students retained their jobs or earned raises/promotions
- 2,691 students passed the GED
- 1,050 students enrolled in post-secondary education
New Mexico WIA Boards:
Northern Area Local Workforce Development Board
Central Area Workforce Development Board
Southwestern Area Workforce Development Board
Eastern Area Workforce Development Board
NM Department of Workforce Solutions
US Department of Labor
State of New Mexico