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Training provides the esteem driving today’s workers [By Michael Kinsman] For the past few years, work force development experts have been batting around the phrase “lifelong learning.”

Simply put, that is the belief that no matter

accomplishment, and 78 percent believed

to pay into a government-run fund that would

how smart you are today, or what great skills

education would help them better develop

provide training to workers who wanted it.

and expertise you have developed during

their talents or pursue their interests.” “A well-trained work force is a competitive

your work history, it might not be enough for This is an extremely healthy attitude.

advantage,” Reich said at the time. “But

Anything workers can do to improve

companies, by and large, are not living up to

I’ve heard people scoff at the idea,

themselves means their employers will be

their responsibility to train workers.”

suggesting that their careers would be just

better off.

tomorrow’s work world.

fine without taking remedial steps to expand their horizons. But a new study shows that attitudes are shifting. More than half of adults ages 25 to 60 want to obtain more education, according to a study of more than 1,100 people. The study was conducted for Capella University, a Minneapolis-based online university. That’s a whopping group of about 70 million people.

Reich’s belief was that companies need to Additional education hurts no one, but

invest in the education and training of their

Capella’s study shows it is being embraced

workers to maintain a competitive advantage.

by people we don’t typically think of as college students.

“The smart companies know that,” he said.

Most of us think of college students as being

Now, the Capella study seems to indicate

18 to 22 years old. That’s the traditional view.

that smart adults know that, too.

But those individuals really only comprise 16 percent of the U.S. college population. Since 1970, the number of college students over the age of 25 has nearly tripled. Today,

The study reports that two of the five top

38 percent of the 17.6 million students

motivators to pursue more education are

enrolled in colleges and universities today

focused on career goals: find a new career or

are older than 25.

make more money. Apparently, the message of the work force “One of the big surprises was the mix of

development experts is sinking through.

reasons why people thought it would be beneficial to get more education,” says

In the mid-’90s, former Secretary of Labor

Lyungai Mbilinyi, who authored the study.

Robert Reich tried to put an emphasis on

“We thought that the prospect of a higher

lifelong learning by floating the idea that

income would come out on top - and

the federal government spend an amount

although 71 percent did think additional

equivalent to 1.5 percent of their payroll on

education would help them earn more,

employee training and education.

several intangibles were rated even higher. “Eighty-one percent associated higher education with a personal sense of


Companies would receive tax breaks for that investment and any company that didn’t want to train its own work force would be required

Training provides the esteem driving today's workers  

work force development experts have been batting around the phrase lifelong learning. Federal government spends an amount equivalent to 1.5...

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