Roy E. Howard, Ph.D.
Gallup Graduate Studies Center, Western New Mexico University
e-mail | Vita


A Demonstration Project of

a proposed development project sponsored by

the Bilingual/Multicultural Resources Center in the College of Education
and the Division of Continuing Education

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.

in Cooperation with

Caprock Manufacturing


Lubbock Appraisal District

Prepared by Roy E. Howard, Ph.D.

National Workplace Literacy Program.

Department of Education CFDA No: 84.198


(1) The extent to which the project will focus on demonstrated needs for workplace literacy training of adult workers:

The United States today is experiencing rapid changes in the workplace. We need more workers who are literate and able to function in English, are needed for more highly technical jobs than ever. Yet among the workers there is still a high rate of minorities who have not completed high
school and immigrants who are not fluent in English. Nationwide there is a need for ESL and literacy training in the workplace.


According to Governor Bill Clements, Texas suffers from an "adult functionally illiteracy rate of 20%, which costs Texas about $17 Billion annually in a variety of categories, including tax revenue, unemployment insurance and welfare payments". State Representative Paul Colbert says that "the perceived lack of a trained workforce in Texas is one of the difficulties the state faces in attracting new industry.

Lubbock Area Limitations in Basic Literacy and English

Based on census reports, it is apparent that Lubbock and the West Texas region have many industries which employ large numbers of workers who are limited in English and basic literacy skills (see Appendix B). Only two thirds of all residents have completed high school. Almost twenty percent never even started high school. Almost forty thousand people (23% of the population) speak another language other than English at home, and almost twenty thousand (11%) speak little English. Increasingly complex jobs in manufacturing and production are replacing the formerly plentiful agricultural jobs.

Of the almost 100,000 individuals in the work force in Lubbock County, there are inordinate percentages of minorities in the categories of the lowest level of jobs. Local industries report that English and basic literacy skills training would make many thousands of people better able to contribute to the productivity of their companies or improve the workers' chances for advancement or employability. An analysis of the need indicates that 7 to 10,000 workers may fall in the category of low level job and limited in English (see Appendix B).

This local community does have several projects related to literacy for adults, but none are designed with a bilingual or ESL component, none address the need for the supervisory personnel to be trained in dealing with this type of worker, and none address specific knowledge and skills of the changing technology. Those who do sponsor adult literacy programs and local businesses have expressed to us a need for these components in the area. The Texas plan for postsecondary vocational education addresses the need for materials and courses to meet the need for a population that will be more than 50% "minorities" by the end of the next decade.

On the Job Basic Skills Training

The day may come in West Texas when the school system and the vocational programs in higher education are meeting these serious needs. However, the need to retrain workers currently on the job is acute. The Governor's Task Force on Vocational Education "is unanimous in endorsing the stress on developing the basic skills of reading, writing, calculating, communicating, analysis and problem solving as an essential foundation upon which a sound vocational education program can be built." The state postsecondary master plan for vocational education emphasizes the need to "develop the most effective and cost efficient system for utilization of English as a Second Language within the ongoing postsecondary technical and vocational programs and short-term, intensive training courses." There are no postsecondary vocational programs in this area that address these needs. English language development, materials development, and adult literacy are considered by the Governor's task force to be high, but only recently targetted priorities for Texas.

Changes in the Types of Jobs Available

New technology requiring new workers or the retraining of existing staffs to have higher skill and knowledge levels:

The Need for Improved Skills to Enable Career Advancement

Lubbock Appraisal District conducted an assessment of skills in 1989. The test and supervisory evaluations indicate the following needs:

Interoffice communications are very poorly written (poor grammar and syntax and simple mathematical computations) causing delayed/inaccurate information processing throughout the company. Major reports required by the State are difficult for several employees to process.

They are in the process of developing new supervisory positions. Additional training in supervisory/management skills are necessary for employees to upgrade into these positions. Skills required include oral and written communication, training and supervisory techniques, cross cultural interaction, and problem solving.

The Need for Improved Quality Control and Productivity

The Need to Train Supervisors

The project will train supervisors in:

interpersonal communication skills;

recognizing the training and counseling needs of workers needing literacy, basic skills, and ESL training;

techniques of cross cultural understanding specific to the groups of employees in their organizations;

identify special needs of language minority workers and either provide that training by adapting style

Roy E. Howard, Ph.D.
Gallup Graduate Studies Center, Western New Mexico University
e-mail | Vita