Teaching Basic Skills In The Context of Job Skills Training
Research in the early 1970's provided the foundation for much of the federal policies and practices in workplace literacy education of the 1990's. In the early research, it was demonstrated that in a brief six week program, with up to 180 hours of instruction available, adult students in programs that taught literacy skills using general literacy materials, such as literature readers, skills books, etc., made about a half-year gain in job-related reading and about seven months gain in general literacy. But students in literacy programs that used job-related materials, such as technical manuals, texts about the jobs, job forms, etc., made as much or more gain in general literacy and three to five times the amount of gain in reading their job materials.
Reduce Time It Takes For Adult Students To Move To Self Sufficiency
Research sponsored by the Ford Foundation in the mid-1980's in the San Diego Community College District, Centre City Continuing Education Center, showed that electronics training could be redesigned to take in people with basic skills below what is normally expected. They were then taught reading and mathematics in the context of teaching electricity and electronics.
By fully integrating job skills and basic skills training, the amount of time intakes an adult to move from welfare-to-work can be reduced. This is because it is nor necessary to first raise student's basic skills to some pre-determined level before entering job training. Instead, one can enter directly into job training, and then improve basic skills by doing job-related reading, writing, oral language, and mathematics tasks. Further research is needed to find ways to fully integrate the vocational and basic skills programs in public institutions in ways that give adults access to vocational training for high-paying jobs, reduce the total training time, and still generate sufficient full time equivalent (FTE) funds to support the programs.
Source: Sticht, T., Armstrong, W., Hickey, D. & Caylor, J. (1987). Cast-off Youth: Policy and Training Methods From the Military Experience. New York: Praeger (p. 116).