75% of Unemployed Adults Have Difficulty Reading or Writing

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) define literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”

Many policy analysts consider literacy rates crucial to measure a community’s human capital. This claim is made because literate people are trained less expensively than illiterate people, generally have a higher socio-economic status and enjoy better health and employment prospects. Policy makers also argue that literacy increases job opportunities and access to higher education.

As our economy continues to struggle, we may need to look a little deeper than eliminating tax breaks for the rich and revising entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

I recently signed up to be a volunteer tutor, helping adults to read. I had no idea what a big problem this is in America. The information provided about illiteracy in America was staggering.

Not only do we need to create jobs in America, but we need to create Americans that can do the job. As published in Work Force 2000, US Department of Labor,” 40%, of all current jobs require limited skills, but it is estimated that only 27% of newly created jobs fall into that category.”

While new and available jobs get more advanced every day,” 2.2 million people are added to the adult illiterate population of the United States every year”-U.S. Department of Education. Not only is this adding to the unemployment line but it is also costing taxpayers millions of dollars in public assistance and the costs of operating the prison system. “It is estimated that $5 billion a year in taxes goes to support people receiving public assistance who are unemployed due to illiteracy”-Pro-Literacy America and “60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have problems reading”-US Department of Education.

America needs to get back to basics, supporting education. There are many literacy groups that are in desperate need of volunteers. This is a grassroots effort that needs to be launched in every community. If you can read, volunteer to help others our economy depends on it!

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