About one in six adults ages 16-65 are low-skilled individuals.
About one-third of low-skilled adults ages 16-65 are under age 35.
Two-thirds of the youngest low-skilled adults ages 16-24 are men.
One-third of low-skilled adults ages 16-65 are immigrants.
Nearly three-fourths of adults ages 16-65 are black or Hispanic.
Who Would Benefit From Higher Skills?
Individuals and Families
The economic payoff to individuals for higher skills is greater in the United States than in almost any other industrialized country.
Increasing parents’ skills can improve education outcomes for their children.
Higher-skilled adults are healthier, with implications for their ability to work, parent, and participate in their communities.
Business and Industry
Increasing adult skills increases productivity.
Because higher-skilled workers are also likely to be healthier, helping adults improve their skills indirectly raises productivity.
Increasing skills expands access to employment and better-paying jobs, creating new customers for products and services.
Low-skilled Americans are motivated to get ahead.
Raising adult skills could lift community educational attainment for the next generation as well.
States with better-educated workforces have higher economic growth and higher wages.
Raising adult skills could potentially save communities substantial amounts in healthcare costs.
Integrating immigrants may benefit communities economically.
Raising adult skills could result in more civic engagement in communities.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. (2015, February). Making Skills Everyone’s Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Author.