Making Skills Everyone’s Business – A New Report

Recently, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the Department of Education released the report, Making Skills Everyone’s Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States. The data and strategies outlined might be of interest to your office and the communities with which you work. The strategies are based on a comprehensive engagement process and research that took place over the last year.


According to the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which tested adult skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments, 36 million Americans have low literacy skills, nearly 24 million of whom are part of the workforce.  In addition, nearly 46 million Americans struggle with numeracy. These skills issues have significant negative impacts on individuals, their families, and their communities. In contrast, higher skills are linked to improved economic and social outcomes, such as better employment, earnings, and health; social mobility; and greater civic engagement.


Making Skills Everyone’s Business report offers suggestions for how to establish convenient, effective, high-quality learning opportunities for low-skilled youth and adults. Specifically, the Making Skills report offers seven strategies that hold great promise for improving the conditions that create and perpetuate poor literacy, numeracy, and problem solving. Two of these strategies speak directly to creating career pathways and upskilling of frontline workers. These strategies do not partition the responsibilities of the public and private sectors; nor do they compartmentalize actions at the federal, state, regional, tribal, or local levels. These strategies are based on the principle of shared responsibility and acknowledge that America’s skills challenge is too large to address by any stakeholder group independently.