Learning a Living

First Results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey

image of Learning a Living

Based on the Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey conducted in Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Mexico (Nuevo Leon), Norway, and the United States of America in 2003 and 2004, this book presents an initial set of findings that shed new light on the twin processes of skill gain and loss. The book opens with an explanation of the goals and conceptual approach of the survey and comparative profiles of adult skills in participating countries. It then looks at the relationship between education and skills and adult learning and skills. Additional chapters compare the employability of younger and older populations in participating countries, skills and economic outcomes, skills and information and communications technologies, skills and immigration, the effects of parental education on skills, and the effect of skills on health.

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Skills and Immigration

This chapter compares the skill profiles of immigrant and native-born adults for the countries participating in ALL. First, the significance of immigration in OECD countries is considered. Projections forecast declining population growth and for some countries a net decrease by 2050. Second, the knowledge and skills that immigrants contribute to host countries in terms of their educational attainment are examined. Third, the extent to which educational credentials translate into useable skills of the type measured in ALL for the host country is considered. In comparing the education credentials and observed skills of immigrants, it is apparent that there is an education-skills gap among immigrants. In light of this, the potential role of native versus foreign language status in explaining the education-skills gap is considered briefly. Finally, the chapter concludes by studying some of the labour market outcomes of immigrants.

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