Lessons Learned from a State-Funded Workplace Literacy Program

Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 09-146

22 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2009 Last revised: 17 Jun 2015

See all articles by Kevin Hollenbeck

Kevin Hollenbeck

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Bridget Timmeney

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Date Written: March 13, 2009

Abstract

Findings from an evaluation of a workplace literacy program funded by the State of Indiana are presented. Working with employers, providers were given considerable latitude to design their own training regimens. The state awarded certificates to workers who achieved certain levels of proficiency in reading, math, critical thinking, problem solving (assessed by CASAS), and computer literacy (certified by IC3). The evaluation relied on qualitative and quantitative data. Multiple site visits were undertaken and a survey of participants (n = 1800), learning gains, and earnings histories were quantitatively analyzed.

Key findings include a significant interest in college attendance by incumbent workers, higher-than-expected levels of literacy in pre-assessments, little reliance on contextualization, and the importance of a program champion and supervisory support at workplaces. Business return was not formally measured, but employers and workers reported significant morale gains and frequent productivity gains.

Keywords: workplace, literacy, training, ojt, on-the-job training, productivity

JEL Classification: J24, I21, I38

Suggested Citation

Hollenbeck, Kevin and Timmeney, Bridget, Lessons Learned from a State-Funded Workplace Literacy Program (March 13, 2009). Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 09-146, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1359182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1359182

Kevin Hollenbeck (Contact Author)

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

300 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4686
United States
269-343-5541 (Phone)
269-343-3308 (Fax)

Bridget Timmeney

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

300 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4686
United States

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