Remedial Education and Literacy Issues

Life skills education alone will not properly prepare a student for success in an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (JT) program. Curriculum associated with these programs requires basic math and science skills. Poor math, English, and verbal skills can become major impediments for training and environmental employment. Remedial education is sometimes necessary before training can begin.

Rather than making assumptions about reading, math, and writing abilities, student assessments (discussed in Recruitment and Assessment) should be included as part of the screening process to provide a clear characterization of each individual’s knowledge and experience. Even the best students may have forgotten skills necessary as a foundation for environmental training that they previously had mastered. The challenges for JT program staff are to minimize educational disparities and bring each student to a level sufficient to successfully complete environmental training and obtain employment.

Remedial education may occur in several ways. JT programs that are part of larger training organizations may incorporate remedial training courses as part of an overall comprehensive program. Department of Labor (DOL) programs may develop an individual learning plan for each person that includes remedial education. When remedial education is needed but is not available, it may be required to incorporate it into each environmental course.

As with other components of JT programs, remedial education demonstrates the importance of coordination and partnership with organizations that offer services necessary for students to be successful.

To improve adult literacy, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Adult Education has provided funding for programs to teach basic skills that can result in new employment. Funds included in this program also provide for transportation and child care services.

Additional information concerning reading and communication skills may be found at the ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication Skills. This site is a clearinghouse that addresses issues related to communication and listening skills.

Literacy issues can be found at the National Clearinghouse on Literacy Education. This site provides information on educational materials available to teach English to out-of-school youth.

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