Working adults know the challenges faced by those seeking employment, especially among older adults. The unemployment rate is over 5% in the fall of 2017 and is expected to remain high for the near future. What can an adult do who needs a job or who wants to move into another job? One of the keys to finding a new position is to update skills and knowledge through adult education programs.
Pursuing an education as an adult is not easy. Many adult students have to adjust schedules and find time to go to school. Sacrifices must be made, and the student’s family often pays the price. However, returning to school may be necessary for the long run for the family to experience a better quality of life since pursuing additional education often results in higher incomes. What are some other benefits of adult education?
1. Increased marketability
A tight job market means that applicants must be competitive. Competitiveness is normally determined by the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the applicant. Adult education programs are designed to improve and update knowledge and skills which should improve individual performance in the workplace. Adult education programs increase job skills and update knowledge especially knowledge associated with advances in technology.
The key to maximizing the marketability benefit is to pursue training that will directly impact workplace performance. For example, an adult might need to improve basic skills in reading or math. Completing high school by obtaining a GED can be helpful.
Pursuing training in vocational fields or areas that are in demand can increase marketability. For example, adults can benefit from updating skills in using new technology or pursuing a degree in a new vocational area with projected growth such as healthcare. Healthcare employment is projected to grow some 14% by 2020.
2. Increased salary
The second benefit of adult education is salary increases. One path to increasing salary is through gaining certification in high-demand areas perhaps in technology or in other fields like welding. The principle is that becoming more marketable by maximizing our knowledge and skills also makes us more desirable to employers. Higher pay is one of the primary ways employers use to retain highly qualified employees.
3. Increased mobility
The third benefit of adult education is an expanded knowledge and skills set can improve our mobility between jobs. All of us have experienced times when we want to move to another job. However, our current knowledge and skills set may prohibit the move. Strategic training in areas that would be relevant to a new employer can be an effective tool for capturing the attention of potential employers.
We are in a time when adult education is one of the most effective tools that adults have in finding employment or in moving between jobs. The key is to make adult education a strategic decision by updating and expanding current knowledge and skills that are in demand and desirable by current or potential employers. The decision to pursue adult education is not easy, but it will be worth it in the long run.