For many businesses, finding qualified and skilled employees is an ongoing concern. Today, if companies intend to keep their edge and compete in this fast-pace and ever changing global economy, they will need a workforce that can directly respond to the challenge. Unfortunately, there are more and more signs that our work force is terribly lacking in the most basic of rudimentary skills.
According to The Literacy Company and Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics:
- More than 20 percent of adults read at or below the fifth grad level; this is well below what they need to earn a living wage.
- More than 75 percent of those on welfare are illiterate.
- More than 1 million children drop out of school every year.
- About 50 percent of America’s unemployed youths are functionally illiterate, meaning they can’t carry out simple tasks like balancing a checkbook or reading drug levels.
- Forty-four million American adults are poor readers or “functionally illiterate.”
- Twenty-one million American adults can’t read at all; one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas.
- One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
- Forty-two percent of college graduates never read another book.
After reading these statistics, I was left with several questions. If we can’t seem to master one of the most basic skills necessary, how can we expect to effectively remain a market leader? Do businesses have any role or responsibility in building the qualified and skilled work force they so desperately need?