Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier to Host Engagement Session in Fall River, Mass. Aimed at Improving Foundation Skills of U.S. Adults

  • twitter
  • Facebook
  • google+

Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, will host an engagement session in Fall River, Mass., on Tues., January 21, to gather input for developing a national plan to improve the preparedness of low-skilled U.S. adults. She will give opening remarks at 10 a.m., followed by remarks from U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Divina Grossman, chancellor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, as well as Eric Seleznow, acting assistant secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

The Fall River session marks the final of five regional engagement sessions convened by the Education Department in December and January to gather feedback that will be used to develop the U.S. response to an OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) report that highlighted the large number of U.S. adults with very low basic skills.

Entitled "Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says," the report is the first in a decade that quantifies the population of low-skilled adults, identifying some 36 million adults ages 16-65 whose skills in reading, math, and problem-solving in a technology-rich environment fall far short of what's needed to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

The Department is looking for the country's best ideas and most creative thinking from educators and policymakers, individuals, business, industry and labor leaders, researchers and data experts, and practitioners in adult education to weigh in on best strategies for improving foundation skills and workforce readiness. The national plan is expected to be released in spring, 2014.

As part of the engagement process, the Department has made available a toolkit for communities and organizations to host their own engagement sessions and contribute their ideas to the development of the plan.

The other four sessions were held in Philadelphia, Chicago, Redwood City, Calif., and Cleveland, Miss. This session is co-hosted by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. For more information about the sessions, please visit