Panel urges new literacy for future work force

Too many adults are entering the U.S. work force unprepared for new economy

jobs that require a high level of technical skills, a presidential commission

warned Tuesday.

In a report, the 17-member 21st Century Workforce Commission concluded that

future workers must have new literacy skills, including strong academic,

thinking, reasoning and teamwork skills as well as proficiency in using

technology. The current and future health of the country's high-tech economy

"depends directly on how broadly and deeply Americans reach this new level

of literacy," the report stated.

"It will take partnerships among government, private industry and education

to solve the problem," said Katherine Clark, vice chairwoman of the commission

and president and chief executive officer of Landmark Systems Corp.

The commission identified nine "keys to success" that depend on such partnerships.

They are as follows:

* Build 21st-century literacy.

* Exercise leadership through partnerships.

* Form learning linkages for youth.

* Identify pathways into IT jobs.

* Increase acquisition of IT skills.

* Expand continuous learning.

* Shape a flexible immigration policy for skilled IT workers.

* Raise student achievement.

* Make technology access and Internet connectivity universal.

"A lot of the IT needs are within government," Clark said, adding that preparing

the future IT work force will help agencies as well as industry. "There

will be benefits to the extent [we] improve the pipeline and availability

of IT workers," she said.

The commission based its report on six field hearings, more than a dozen

site visits and a review of current research.

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