Writing Competence: A Necessity for the 21st Century Workplace

Business people writing on paperI recently read a fascinating white paper by Steve Graham, Ed. D., titled “It All Starts Here: Fixing Our National Writing Crisis from the Foundation,” in which Dr. Graham outlines numerous compelling truths about why writing instruction is so critical and must be made a priority in children’s education.

Being a competent writer is no longer an option for our youth. If academic success isn’t enough of a reason (I’ll blog on that later!), it’s an absolute necessity for success in the 21st Century workplace.

Dr. Graham’s research shed light on some striking reasons why writing, now more than ever, is a necessity in the workplace.

  • Many of the low- and medium-skilled jobs have been eliminated. Due to trends in technology innovation and outsourcing, low and medium-skilled jobs (i.e., manufacturing jobs) that don’t require writing are becoming fewer and fewer. This means, unlike previous generations, students in school today will step right into a “knowledge-based” economy and workforce.
  • The jobs that are available now require, on average, a higher level of literacy than entry-level jobs did just ten or twenty years ago—and this trend is accelerating (Gordon, 2009; Business Roundtable, 2009).
  • A survey of employers by the College Board for the National Commission on Writing in 2004 found that two-thirds of salaried employees across all industries have some level of writing responsibility (National Commission on Writing, 2004).
  • Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that 63% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education by 2018 (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2010). This means that we must prepare a much large segment of our student population for college or advanced training.
  • Over 90% of white-collar workers and 80% of blue-collar workers identified writing as an important skill for success on the job (National Commission on Writing, 2006).

In order for our students to succeed in higher education and have productive careers, Dr. Graham is right; we must guarantee that all students achieve grade-level proficiency in writing. And to do this, we have to start at the beginning, with the foundational skills in the early grades that prepare students for higher-level writing.

If your child struggles with reading, writing, or spelling, the most important first step is a professional evaluation. No matter where you live, your child can be tested and treated individually, face-to-face, online, by the clinical educators at Lexercise. Learn more here, or contact me directly at Info@Lexercise.com.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.