CALIFORNIA STATE PLAN
FOR ADULT BASIC EDUCATION

June 30, 1992 to July 1, 1995
Adult Education Act, P.L. 100-297 as Amended by the
National Literacy Act, P.L. 102-73

Submitted by:

California Department of Education
Specialized Programs Branch
Youth, Adult and Alternative Educational Services Division
Adult Education Unit

 

Chapter 4a


NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Review of trend data and projections show that all the groups that traditionally participate in adult education are growing within California, and that this growth requires educational institutions to recast both the content and delivery of adult education.

This chapter provides a broad overview of key population groups that will require services from California's Adult Education System, and the capacity of Adult Education to provide these services.


Population Groups Requiring Services

Eight key population groups will be reviewed to document the need for adult education services:

The demand for adult education from these groups should be viewed in the context of total population growth.

In absolute numbers, between 1980 and 2020 California's population will increase some 67 percent from 23.8 million to 39.6 million persons. While this growth will occur at rates that are slower than prior decades, California's growth rate will be almost twice as fast as the rest of the nation1. Population growth over the next two decades will come from birth and migration. Although population growth between 1970 and 1985 was split almost evenly between these two sources;2 a persistent flow of immigration are expected to make net in-migration the principle source of population growth in the future.

These trends will greatly increase the demand for adult education. First, there will simply be a larger population to serve. Second, a larger portion of tomorrow's population will be adults over age 18, and a larger proportion of these adults will be in groups that traditionally participate most in adult education.

MINORITIES

One of the most profound changes occurring in California's population is its headlong rush to become the nation's first balanced multi-cultural state.

Trends and projections provide a vivid picture of a profound march toward ethnic and racial pluralism. Specifically, the percent of the California population that is white and presumably of Anglo background is projected to decline from a majority of 78 percent to a minority of 41 percent between 1970 and 2020. As the white population shifts to minority status, it will not be replaced by a single majority ethnic-racial group. Rather, other ethnic and racial groups will emerge as larger minorities. Specifically, the California population of 2020 will be composed of 8 percent Blacks, 38 percent Hispanics, and 14 percent Asians and other ethnic-racial groups (See Exhibit 2).

The root of this projected transformation of California's ethnic and racial make-up stems from a tidal wave of foreign immigration and higher than average birth rates among most immigrant populations once they arrive in California.

ADULT IMMIGRANTS

Most of California's population growth will come from migration into the state, the greatest proportion of which is expected to come from immigration.

 

Exhibit 2 - [OMITTED]

CALIFORNIA POPULATION GROWTH BY
RACIAL-ETHNIC CATEGORY, 1970-2020

 

A recent Population Reference Bureau study estimated that for the foreseeable future there would be a net legal and illegal immigration of 190,000 persons a year. Approximately 35 percent of this inflow was estimated to be illegal, mostly from Mexico.3 This translates to a population increase of 1.9 million every decade from immigration alone, a figure accounting for half of the previously reported population growth of the 1980-1990 decade. The Population Reference Bureau study reports that this estimate is "conservative" and other studies have estimated a much larger population growth from immigration.4

It is also projected that 53 percent of this immigration will be from Hispanic origins, two-thirds of which come from Mexico. Some 39 percent are estimated to come from Asian nations, most notably Vietnam, China, Korea and the Philippines.5

The impact of immigration upon California's population does not end with the arrival of foreigners.6 With this variation, fertility rates are expected to converge to under 2.0 per woman by 2030. The combined impacts of higher birth rates among non-white ethnic and racial groups and direct immigration will fuel the shift toward a pluralistic future.7

The impacts of immigration on California's ethnic-racial make-up might have enormous implications. Past waves of immigration were greater, but world wars and the passage of restrictive legislation have moderated population growth from this source and allowed time for assimilation and social adjustment. Today's legal and illegal immigration to California appears to be different. Though future immigration is not easy to predict, it is certain that over the next decade there will be no rest periods as different cultures learn to live with each other.

California's changing ethnic-racial profile has important implications for adult education. Critical impacts will stem from differences of educational achievement among non-white ethnic-racial groups and high rates of deficiency with English among Asian and Hispanic groups. Another impact has stemmed from the massive effort to naturalize illegal immigrants under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Finally, important impacts are likely to stem from cultural differences among ethnic-racial groups. Growing diversity will create new demands for effective and flexible methods for delivering adult education services.

ADULT MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKERS

Migrant and seasonal workers constitute a significant segment of California's workforce and are extremely important to the agricultural economy. Many, if not most, are from Mexico and have limited proficiency in English and other basic skills. As a result, many have difficulty in understanding our legal system, enrolling their children in school, obtaining a driver's license and insurance, and understanding rules and procedures which promote health and safety.

Estimates vary widely on the size of this population. The number of adults in this population are estimated at 1.2 million, as identified by the State Employment Development Department (EDD). The EDD estimate is derived from data establishing a ratio of 3 to 4 migrant and seasonal farmworkers for each of the approximately 400,000 jobs available in agriculture each year. On the low end, a report from the Department of Housing and Community Development indicates the number of employed migrant workers at 72,570 in peak months and 7,710 in low months.8 Yet over 600,000 of the State's 1.6 million applicants for amnesty under IRCA applied as Special Agricultural Workers.9 The Department of Housing and Community Development predicts that IRCA as well as other factors in agriculture may increase the stability of the agricultural workforce and ultimately reduce the number of migrant workers.10 This suggests that more migrant workers are going to remain in California for longer periods.11

Estimates of the number of migrant and seasonal workers' children are also imprecise yet seem to cluster around 500,000.12 These children experience similar educational experiences as homeless children; intolerable housing options, lack of proper hygiene, lack of a stable school environment, no place to study and low self image. The school dropout rate in this group is estimated to be about fifty percent, suggesting that many will eventually use the adult education system to attain the education needed to perform the job skills required in the 21st Century.

WORKING ADULTS

Pushed by international competition and fueled by technological innovation, California is leading the nation into a post-industrial era of "high-tech" industries and a staggering diversity of services. This change is not occurring overnight, but it is relentless. Just as the archetype work setting has already moved from the work bench and factory floor to the office desk and telephone, tomorrow's work setting will become the micro computer with a "desktop" screen and service desks supported by international information technology.13 Today's workers must better prepare themselves to be productive in tomorrow's economy, and adult education will be a critical component in that task.

This long-term transition is reflected in state and national employment projections. California remains an agricultural power due to technologically supported productivity, but scarcely 3 percent of the state's workers hold jobs in this sector. Technological change coupled with international competition are also shrinking the ranks of the manufacturing work force. Specifically, manufacturing workers as a percent of all workers declined from 27 percent in 1960 to 19 percent in 1985, and the proportion is projected to shrink to 18 percent by 1995. Service and information industries have been and will be the growth sectors. Employment in the service sector is predicted to climb from 14 percent in 1960 to 27 percent in 1995. Jobs in the service sector will vary tremendously, ranging from housekeepers to lawyers. Other growth sectors will include trade, finance, insurance and real estate (See Exhibit 3).

 

Exhibit 3 - [OMITTED]

DISTRIBUTION OF CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT BY
INDUSTRY, 1960 TO 1995

 

Occupations of employment will also shift to reflect the changing prominence of industries and the technologies used by industries. This changing occupational profile promises to increase the basic skill requirements of most new jobs while new technologies are altering right now the skills required within long-established occupations.14

Finding, let alone keeping, a job in the 1990's and 21st Century will be like aiming at a moving target. Workers and the institutions that provide them with training must maintain high standards and be up-to-date.

As in the past and present, workers of the future will change jobs and careers. Some of this change will be self-chosen and some will result from economic forces beyond the control of the individual. The average American worker changes jobs some twelve times during his or her worklife. Much of this change is internal change within the same organization or voluntary job change from one employer to another. More cathartic changes take the form of involuntary job loss, either temporary or permanent.

In today's world, loss of jobs generally stems from a lack of economic competitiveness, in many cases on an international scale.15 For the most part, the extent of job displacement in future years is likely to be determined by whether we are able to train skilled and motivated workers, then provide them with the technology to be competitive. Nonetheless, appropriate education and training must be provided for those who are displaced.

Changes in the labor market and the world of work have powerful implications for adult education. First and foremost, study after study indicates that the basic skills required for most jobs of the future will be significantly higher than those required today. Second, a shifting occupational and industrial structure coupled with significant skill requirement changes within established occupations indicates that adults will have the basic educational foundation to continually update their skills. Third, ongoing voluntary career changes and the specter of unemployment will foster the need for significant "retooling" on the part of many workers.


1 Specifically, average annual growth rates for the nation are expected to be 0.7 and 0.5 percent for the decades of 1900-2000 and 2000-2010 compared to Califorina growth rates of 1.0 and .0 percent for the same decades (Department of Finance, Demographics Unit, State of California, Sacramento, November, 1988)

2 California Statistical Abstracts, 1987, State of California, Sacramento, 1988, Table B-1, page 12.

3 Leon F. Bouvier and Phillip L. Martin, Population Change and California's Educational System, OP. Cit, pages 15-17 and 59-62.

4 One study estimates that more than one million emigrants entered California illegally during the 1970's a figure accounting for an annual average of over 100,000 (Thomas Muller, the Fourth Wave: California's Newest Immigrants, the Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., 1984, page 6).

5 Leon F. Bouvier and Phillip L. Martin, Op. Cit, page 61

6 The birth rates of recently immigrated populations are commonly higher than those of the native populations. The above noted Population Reference Bureau study estimates fertility rates for the native white population to average 1.7 children per woman. Fertility rates for Blacks and Hispanics were estimated to be 2.3 and 3.0 Asian populations, which vary by country of origin, average over 2.0 (Leon F. Bouvier and Phillip L. Martin, Op. Cit., page 59)

7 Ibid., page 15-16.

8 Migrant Farmworker Housing in California, Department of Housing and Community Development, Sacramento, 1988, pages 12-14.

9 Statistics from the Senate Select Committee on Refugee Resettlement, International Migration and Cooperative Development.

10 Migrant Farmworker Housing in California, op. cit., page 5

11"Out of the Shadows", The IRCA/SLIAG Opportunity, California Postsecondary Education Commission, 1989, page i

12 This estimate was provided by Edward Kissam, a consultant to the California Human Development Corporation and other organizations. The estimate is based on Migrant Health Program population estimates, INS Legalization statistics, and the extensive work of Dr. Phil Martin from the University of California at Davis.

13 Fred Best, "Preparing California's workforce for the Jobs of the Future", in Howard Didsbury (Editor), The World of Work Careers and the Future, World Future Society, Washington, D.C., 1983.

14 William Johnston and Arnold Packer, Workforce 2000: Work and Workers for the 21st Century, Hudson Institute, Indianapolis, 1987, pages 96-101.

15 Richard Vedder, Robotics and the Economy, Staff Study, Subcommittee on Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C., March 26, 1982, pages 26.

 

***** Continued on "Ch.04b Needs Assessment" *****