Publication Date



Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 96-42




Many individuals are grappling with the issue of whether to provide workers with training that upgrades the workers' basic academic skills. The corollary questions that flow from this issue are how to provide the training, how much training should be provided, and who should pay for the training. Workers are interested in this issue because they want to sustain productive, well-paying careers that will support adequate standards of living. Not receiving training may jeopardize their careers and earning power. Employers are interested in this issue because their economic role is to maximize corporate profits for stockholders. In most companies, worker productivity is the most important factor in determining output levels and profitability. Public policy makers are interested in the issue because if productive workers lose their jobs, the public may end up supporting them through income maintenance payments and financing job searches through the employment service. On the other hand, if basic skills-deficient workers get training and keep their jobs, they will continue to pay taxes that support government activities. Educators are interested in the issue because they want to improve the educational system to reduce future basic skill deficiencies and because they may be involved in the upgrading of current workers.

Issue Date



Paper presented at "Workplace Learning: The Strategic Advantage" conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 29, 1996 under title: A Benefit Cost Framework for Assessing the Economic Returns to Workplace Literacy Training

Subject Areas

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; On the job training; Employer provided training


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Hollenbeck, Kevin M. 1996. "A Framework for Assessing the Economic Benefits and Costs of Workplace Literacy Training." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 96-42. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.