LITERACY TRAINING IN THE WORKPLACE: A CASE STUDY OF TWO UTILITY COMPANIES (BASIC SKILLS, REMEDIAL, JOB TRAINING)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the specific characteristics of literacy training programs of selected utility companies in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. The study analyzed these characteristics: curriculum, instruction, program administration, and career development. The case study methodology, using two utility companies, was chosen for data collection. Data were gathered from these sources: (a) structured interviews with students, instructors, program administrators, and company supervisors; (b) classroom observations; and (c) analysis of company and employee records. The significant findings for each of the characteristics studied indicated: (a) curriculum was designed by PLAN, INC., a nonprofit consulting firm, choosing both job-related and general literacy materials; (b) instructional activities were determined by the consultant and emphasized small group teaching based on students' test scores; (c) administrative issues were mainly the responsibility of company officials, but evaluation was managed jointly by company and consultant; and (d) career development was determined by company officials. As a result of the findings, it was concluded that: (1) No single, clear model of literacy development was followed; (2) An eclectic approach to instruction was used; (3) Literacy training provided on the job site, with time shared by the employer, was effective; (4) Participants improved their job-related literacy skills; (5) Literacy training improved general organizational effectiveness and affected employee job mobility; (6) Literacy training improved morale and motivation of participants; (7) Planning and developing literacy training were jointly shared between company and consultant. The findings of the research suggested recommendations for practice and for future research. For the practitioner, it was recommended that (a) professional trade associations establish industry-wide committees to address literacy issues; (b) the human resource staff understand the difference between general training and literacy training; (c) corporate literacy programs focus on specific job-related literacy skills which are reinforced through planned on-the-job experiences; and (d) needs assessments, including a job and task analysis, be conducted to determine the literacy needs of employees. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.).