By Michael Ormsby
As the demand for educated workers grows, employers find themselves in a dilemma. 39 million American adults never earned a high school diploma, limiting the pool of qualified workers. Community education programs don’t always fill the gap. One innovative solution is a GED® training program in the workplace, and employers find that it provides significant rewards.
Around 30 million American adults rank “Below Basic” in prose literacy, the lowest literacy ranking, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) (reference). In quantitative literacy, 46 million adults rank “Below Basic”. These are startling figures in adult literacy and numeracy, and it’s a difficult reality for employers. Today’s working world demands complex literacies… in problem solving, decision making, using data, and understanding information. NAAL reports note that Americans with lower literacies are less likely to be employed and likely to earn less money. Adult literacy education isn’t addressing the problem.
To develop a qualified workforce, more and more employers are turning to workplace adult basic education, and often that means a GED program in the workplace. The GED test measures essential adult literacy skills, the fundamental skills that employers need: reading skills, writing skills, math skills, and thinking skills. Funds are often limited, though, and employers struggle to find effective adult basic education programs with minimal costs.
Educational software and online GED programs are often the key, providing interactive educational GED training in the workplace at a minimal cost, often without the need for onsite teachers. The goal is to get learners involved, to activate their minds. The best online distance learning programs use storytelling, humor, and interactive exercises to involve learners. Effective distance learning online GED programs are easy to implement and simple for workers to use, even those who aren’t comfortable with computers.
For a small investment, the GED training provided by online GED programs both creates a more qualified workforce and provides a valued incentive for new hires. The American Council on Education states that employers who provide GED programs “get a more educated, more committed workforce, and can recruit motivated, career-minded candidates. These organizations see the increased retention and improved productivity of employees who have received their GED credentials through company-sponsored programs”.
Employees who receive GED training from their companies appear to support this claim. The United Auto Workers/Daimler-Chrysler Huntsville Family Training Center is an example. The adult basic education facility was put in place to develop employee self-esteem as well as skills. Janitor Lorine Horton credits the company’s program with giving her the skills to get a GED diploma. “I have no plans to leave,” she says. “This company helped me succeed.”