NLA Info: Turning Skills to Profit through Workplace Ed.
cbking2 at flash.net
Thu Nov 11 17:36:43 EST 1999
Hi to all:
And to reply to David's note below:
"And, for Rich, Catherine, and others who might wonder, I don't by any
means believe that the sole --or most important -- purpose of adult
education is vocational or work-related. I also don't believe that
workplace education should be limited to workplace-related basic skills.
I think there's room for a broad range of adult learner goals to be met
through workplace education.)"
Nothing would be better than to know that business people are educated
enough to know what benefits THEY ARE CONTRIBUTING to our larger "culture of
civility" by providing workplace education for their workers. No one minds,
certainly not me, that business "gets something back" for their efforts, as
David has shown they obviously do. It's a good thing for all of us if they
do. I know of some particular business people who have this vision of
themselves, and they do what they do because they are not greedy, and are
responsible people, participating in capitalism without sacrificing their
principles for the "bottom line." What, pray tell, would we do without
business? The only thing worse than a bad economy is no economy at all?
Business as such is NOT the enemy, nor is a good economy, nor getting a job,
nor making money, nor skills training, nor workplace education.
What is the enemy is, as David seems to understand, a truncated view of what
corporate business is about--as if it were a self-contained, headless,
vacuum instead a part of an integral socio-political context--and to
understand EVERYTHING in MERELY those truncated terms--like collapsing ABE
at the structural level into Workplace Training? Or thinking nothing is
happening in education except what we can "check the box" for. These are
good examples of the cart driving the horse. In other terms, it is a gross
oversight of what education or business is about. It is also social
darwinism theories now uncritically filtered down into the common thought of
our leaders. It's predatory and inhumane, and with a reductionist,
mechanistic twist. Some people actually reflectively embrace this view.
Fortunately, like our policy makers, not all businesspeople subscribe to
such vacuous thought, nor need they. But when "education" thinks it's
merely an arm of business, and uncritically takes on the business model
completely by treating people like products, discarding the "unfit," we have
a clue there is a problem of understanding what we are about. It would be
better if "business" understood itself more like education really is. There
is some movement in this direction--Steven Covey, for instance, in his
More power to Workplace Education, not as a replacement, but as ONE context
where education happens--like prison.
> From: nla-approval at world.std.com [mailto:nla-approval at world.std.com]On
> Behalf Of David J Rosen
> Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 1:00 PM
> To: nla at world.std.com
> Subject: NLA Info: Turning Skills to Profit through Workplace Ed.
> NLA Colleagues,
> A recent study by The Conference Board, entitled "Turning Skills into
> Profit: Economic Benefits of Workplace Education Programs," answers
> the question: what is the return on investment to businesses
> which have workplace education programs? The Conference Board, a
> business-oriented research organization whose purpose is to "improve the
> business enterprise system and to enhance the contribution of business to
> society....interviewed employers, employees and union
> representatives from
> more than 40 private- and public-sector workplaces representing a
> cross-section of economic sectors throughout the United States."
> Interviewees were selected from 45 national workplace education projects
> funded between 1995-1998 by the U.S. Department of Education, through its
> National Workplace Literacy Program.
> This report, in no uncertain terms, lists the economic benefits to
> employers of Workplace Education Programs: improved quality of work,
> better team performance,improved capacity to cope with change in the
> workplace, improved capacity to use new technology, increased output
> of products and services, reduced time per task, reduced error rate,
> better health and safety record, reduced waste in production of goods
> and services, increased customer retention, and increased
> employee retention.
> If this is so, one must wonder, why hasn't the business community - and
> especially its various trade associations -- let Congress know that
> workplace education can help them, as well as their employees.
> Why was the
> business community silent at the sunset of the workplace education
> Those of you who believe that the public sector should be involved in
> helping business (especially small-to-medium-sized businesses) and
> organized labor to start workplace education programs, may wish to get
> copies of this report and me sure the business community in your state
> sees it. You may wish to ask business and labor to support the creation
> of a new federally-funded workplace education program, one which
> to require a partnership approach of business, labor and education
> providers, and which continues to require that large companies
> increasingly and ultimately pick up all of the program costs, but which
> recognizes that small businesses and labor-sponsored programs may need
> ongoing public support.
> The 15-page report, entitled "Turning Skills into Profit: Economic
> Benefits of Workplace Education Programs," is available from the
> Conference Board, 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022.
> (And, for Rich, Catherine, and others who might wonder, I don't by any
> means believe that the sole --or most important -- purpose of adult
> education is vocational or work-related. I also don't believe that
> workplace education should be limited to workplace-related basic skills.
> I think there's room for a broad range of adult learner goals to be met
> through workplace education.)
> David J. Rosen
> <DJRosen at world.std.com>
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