Economics, employment, and retirement educational programs for older adults
Outcome analysis and country comparisons using PIAAC data
Continuous learning over the life course is necessary to effectively compete in a knowledge-based global economy. Shifts in the age structure of the U.S. labor force combined with increased labor force participation among older adults add to the importance of gaining a better understanding of how adult education and training (AET) influences labor market outcomes for middle-aged and older workers. This study used U.S. data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) to examine the relationship between participation in AET programs and employment, labor force participation, and income for adults aged 45 to 65. Participation in an AET program in the 12 months preceding the survey significantly improved the log odds of both employment and labor force participation and significantly improved the log odds of moving up one income quintile. Lower income groups and the unemployed were less likely to participate in AET than higher income groups and the employed. Females and those with lower levels of education were more likely to have poorer outcomes in employment, labor force participation, and income as compared to males and the more highly educated. We also compared outcomes of AET participation in the U.S. with those in Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the U.K. and examined policies for lifelong learning in those countries. Consistent with the U.S., lower-income groups are less likely to participate in adult education programs as compared to higher income groups.