There is a symbiotic relationship between skilled workers and productivity. In an ideal workplace, workers must have sufficient knowledge of their individual tasks and be equipped with the necessary skills in order to better perform their work, avoid mistakes, deal with other organizational members without any difficulty, and increase the level of production. Nowadays it is necessary for every job applicants to be competitive, literate, skilled at writing and listening skills, and be able to perform a given task.
It is important that human resources must be able to adapt to technological and technical developments taking place in a workplace or a particular industrial setting.
Workforce development is indispensable in bracing the competitiveness of human resource through carefully planned programs and activities (Giguere, 2008, p. 238). This kind of development is not just the concern of individual employees but most importantly the company or employer himself. Both entry-level employee and existing personnel must be able embark on training skills in order to enhance their performance in a variety of service, interpersonal and administrative areas.
In this regard, there are various areas to be improved on the part of human resource. To secure career development workforce must be able to improve their human resource skills through a systematic and practical programs. When it comes to technical aspects, it is also imperative to improve the workforce knowledge in computer networking and to embark on basic computer training. The problem why a workplace is saddled with low productivity is because there is no existing or fully developed workforce development program aimed at honing the skills of both entry-level and old personnel.
Workplace literacy program, on the other hand, is aimed at enhancing the literacy level of both the employed and unemployed (Drago-Severson, 2004). This has been the focus of the federal government for nearly three decades in order to reduce the level of adult illiteracy. This only means that literacy has a huge impact on businesses which all seek to acquire literate and competitive workers. Apart from being a national priority, there is also a growing concern among businesses in regard to increasing adult literacy (Goad, 2002, p. 123).
We are all aware of the huge impact of adult illiteracy on businesses. This concern was goaded by fast-paced technological development and the risk of foreign competition. The only answer to this scenario is an increased adult literacy and to improve workforce basic skill requirements.
- Recruitment plan
Like any literacy and workforce development program in the past, recruitment is on a voluntary basis. Anyone who thinks he/she needs to improve his/her literacy skills is welcome to enlist or enroll in the program. However, those identified that will attend this program are both teenage and adult people who lack the necessary literacy skills to exist in a work environment.
The main target of this program are people like Catalina who aspires to improve her career or work, which is the only means to improve her family’s economic standing and to have a quality time with her children. There are a lot of Hispanic and other immigrants in the United States who are fit to undergo this program, especially now that most businesses demand better literacy skills and competency among job applicants. The recruitment process may be made through building connections with businesses and through direct contact with potential subjects.
- Pre-assessment Plan
Considering the ongoing economic crisis there is a need to implement this program whose purpose is to ensure career development, increase adult literacy rate, and raise workers’ productivity and competence through corporate-based and practical lessons and activities. Apart from this, this is the time wherein immigrants have to be more competitive in order to be acquired and to exist in the job marketplace being dominated by American citizens.
Initially, there should be difference between workforce development and workplace literacy program based on the practical industry requirements. Workforce development should mainly center on soft skills or human resource skills, while workplace literacy should focus on basic skills needed by an employee.
- Instructional Design
As already stated above, there should be a gap between workforce development and workplace literacy program. For the workforce development program, three areas should be mainly considered— a) human resource skills; b) computer networking; and c) basic computer training.
For the human resource skills, the following courses or lessons shall be implemented:
Handling difficult people: the purpose of this lesson is to train or motivate people how to deal properly with other organizational members, particularly the snotty executives and employers. Certainly this centers on human relations within a particular workplace. Other things to be considered are problem approaches and problem-solving techniques, as well as supervision of difficult workers.
Developing positive attitude: This lesson shall focus on motivating employees to think big, to think out of the box, and to think independently.
Communication Skills: some of the important subjects to be tackled here are effective communication, giving and receiving criticism, giving and receiving feedbacks, meeting skills, as well as business writing.
Conflict Management: some of the important lessons to be taken here are the effective ways to manage conflict in the workplace, giving and receiving criticism, resolving and managing conflicts, negotiating and arbitration, among others.
Effective listening: this lesson shall focus on good listening skills— on how to be an attentive listener. The role of communication and listening shall also be tackled in order to better inform the program attendee.
Costumer service skills: This must be mastered by all program attendee whether they choose to work as costumer service provider or not. The lessons to be tackled here are the effective ways to deal with costumers, how to be in control when dealing with costumers, serving them, giving and receiving costumer feedback, and how to achieve outstanding costumer service.
Career development and personal improvement (Rothwell, Gerity & Gaertner, 2004, p. 1): The main focus of this lesson is to uplift employees’ self-esteem. Other subjects to consider are goals and setting them, enhancing positive assertiveness, time management, team-work skills, and successful long-term learning (Gallo, 2004).
Interviewing skills: For entry-level personnel this aspect is very important. Program attendees should be informed of what to expect during the actual interview session.
Leadership training: Under this lesson, some of the subjects to be considered are the importance of team leading, how to manage a team, mentoring and coaching, effective project management, team building, and motivating at work.
For basic computer training, the following areas must be focused on: desktop operating systems (e.g. Microsoft Windows XP), suites, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, desktop publishing, database, internet, and network operating systems.
On the other hand, for workplace literacy program, the following must be taken into account (Hull, 1997, p. 8):
- Knowing how to learn: This gives the attendee the importance of long-term learning, why there is a need to learn, and how to learn.
- Reading, writing and computation skills
- Listening and oral communication
- Creative thinking and problem solving
When it comes to the philosophical framework of the program, it must be based on Objectivism wherein self-interest should be taken as the moral goal of an employee. A rational philosophy is needed in every workplace so that workers may be able to think rationally, independently and effectively.
- Instructional Staff
All instructional staff must possess at least industry-based knowledge or work experience. Members of the instructional team must have finished college or taken up masters, but what is important is that they have an objective industry-based knowledge and that they have been in the profession for at least two years. However this two-year requirement is not necessary as long as the result of the written examination, interview and then practical examination show that they are qualified to be member of the instructional staff.
- Administrative and Support Services
For the support services, the program attendees shall need the following: library with study room, computer laboratory for basic computer training, decent classrooms equipped with a computers, projectors, chairs and study tables. There should also be a community room wherein all attendees shall be free to interact with each other in order to from personal and professional bonding.
As for the administrative services, there should be an administrative office to be composed of administrative officers. Administrative staff shall include an institute or program secretary, checkers, evaluators, and all other administrative staff needed for the success and continuation of the program.
A program website, as well as a practical Information Technology infrastructure is also needed to better serve the needs of the program attendees. Program enrollees or attendees shall be encouraged to submit their works and projects through the website in order for them to enhance their computer and communication skills.
- Evaluation and Assessment Plan
Workforce development and workplace literacy programs are indeed important instruments in raising adult literacy and making their competitive in the job marketplace (Boyle, 2001, p. 11). However, the success of this kind of program depends upon the effectiveness of the instructional design which is to carryout the underlying aims and objectives of the program.
There is a need to split workforce development and workplace literacy program because they have different objectives and ends. Workforce development is synonymous to career development, which can only be achieved through improvement of human resource skills. The purpose of this program is to encourage workers to apply whatever they have learned to their workplace. On the other hand, workplace literacy program aims to reduce adult illiteracy in the industrial setting through vocational skills.
Under this overall program, what is being developed and improved are not just the basic literacy and computer skills of the workers, but also interpersonal and goal-setting skills, their self-esteem, as well as costumer service and leadership abilities. With all these factors and design in mind, there is no doubt that this program will succeed and will be able to produce more able, more literate and more competent workers in the future.
Boyle, M.E. (2001) The new schoolhouse.: Literacy, managers and beliefs. Westport, CT:
Drago-Severson, E. (2004). Becoming adult learners: Principals and practices for effective
development. NY: Teachers College Press.
Gallo, M.L. (2004). Reading the world of work. Malabar, FL: Krieger.
Giguere, S. (2008). More Than Just Jobs: Workforce Development in a Skills-based Economy.
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Goad, T.W. (2002). Information Literacy and Workplace Performance. Santa Barbara, CA:
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Hull, G. (ed). (1997). Changing work, changing workers. Albany, NY: State University of New
Rothwell, W.J., Gerity, P.E. & Gaertner, E.A. (2004). Linking Training to Performance: A Guide
for Workforce Development Professionals. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Community College