Level 3 Infusion

Tying an adult literacy course to a specific type of employment opportunity, e.g. retailing, food services or data processing, is a school-work connection focusing on providing specific skills that will increase an adult�s possibility for employment in these jobs. These courses need to be based on a firm understanding of what employers in various areas want in terms of employee skills. One issue central to this level of infusion is specific job analysis.

The 1980's and 90's saw a focus on specific job analysis. To enhance the work of Sticht & Mikulecky (1984), Mikulecky (1995a and 1995b), and Kirsch, Jungebutt, Jenkins, & Kilstad (1993), the Job Literacy Analysis (JLA) was developed by Norback and others (1994). This effort responded to the need to analyze the literacy requirements of various occupations in order to match instruction to the job and enhance the job relatedness of curricula. [Note: Though conceptually important, one must consider the usefulness and efficiency of job-analysis activities in a day when job descriptions are frequently changing.]

An issue more in the news is occupational standards. Vocational education and workplace literacy programs are calling for establishment of a national system of world-class occupational skills standards. Although there is no comprehensive national effort, various states, e.g., Georgia, Ohio and Illinois, have developed or are developing occupational standards.

Various government initiatives have also increased interest in tying an adult literacy course to a specific type of employment opportunity. Employment as a focus for adult literacy received a shot in the arm in 1996 when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act reformed the nation�s welfare laws (U.S. Congress, 1996). Commonly referred to as the Welfare Reform Act, the focus for welfare families shifted from education in general to education-to-work as quickly as possible. No longer is it sufficient to simply increase learners� literacy and math skills to generally improve their quality of life or future employment opportunities. To comply with recent welfare legislation, adult literacy personnel are looking to develop short courses in specific employment areas that will enable adults on welfare to quickly enter the workforce.