Do your clients have 21st Century literacy skills needed for today’s workforce?

“The driving force for the 21st century is the intellectual capital of citizens,” the Metiri Group Twenty-First Century Skills.

The term “21st-century skills” is generally used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe adults need to know in order to thrive in today’s world.

As technology expands and society shifts, literacy expands to include much more than reading and writing. Information and communication technologies are raising the bar on the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. Technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, demanding that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies. These literacies are multiple, dynamic, and malleable.

Refugees seeking for job upgrades and forging career pathways should consider their competency in these 21st century skills in their planning.

Digital-age literacy encompasses:

  • Basic literacy: The ability to read, write, listen and speak as well as to compute numbers and solve problems
  • Scientific literacy: A general knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes
  • Economic literacy: An understanding of basic economic concepts, personal finance, the roles of small and large businesses, and how economic issues affect them as consumers and citizens
  • Technological literacy: An understanding about technology and how it can be used to achieve a specific purpose or goal
  • Visual literacy: Visualization skills and the ability to understand, use, and create images and video using both conventional and new media
  • Information literacy: The ability to find, access, and use information as well as the ability to evaluate the credibility of the information
  • Cultural literacy: The ability to value diversity, to exhibit sensitivity to cultural issues, and to interact and communicate with diverse cultural groups
  • Global awareness: An understanding of how nations, individuals, groups, and economies are interconnected and how they relate to each other

Refugee clients have both advantages and disadvantages in accessing these literacies. For example, refugees are versed in more than one culture and interact cross-culturally based on their forced migration. However, they may not have had opportunities to increase their information or computer literacy. Introducing computers in job readiness classes or referring clients to basic computer classes are some ways to grow refugees’ 21st century literacy skills. Using volunteers and donations, resettlement agencies can seek computers to set up volunteer taught computer labs or to give directly to clients as a way to provide digital literacy.

Do you work with employers who value 21st Century Skills? How do you introduce 21st century skills to your clients? Share with us at information@higheradvantage.org.

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