Individual learning accounts: A comparison of implemented and proposed initiatives

December 11, 2021


  • Phyllis A. Cummins
  • A. Katherine Harrington
  • Takashi Yamashita

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) identified three models for funding adult learning: (1) individual learning accounts, (2) individual savings accounts, and (3) training vouchers. The current study discusses examples of these models, either proposed or implemented, across four countries or economic blocks—France, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, to understand the importance of providing funding for education and training to adults with low levels literacy skills, we use data from the Program for the International Assessment for Adult Competencies (PIAAC) to compare participation in adult education and training (AET) by literacy skill levels. In all countries examined, adults with low literacy skills participated in AET at lower rates than those with middle and high levels of literacy skills. To be successful in reaching adults most in need of skill upgrading, financing models need to provide adequate funds for meaningful skill upgrades, have well-structured information sources (e.g., websites) that are easily navigated by the target population, and include policies to screen educational providers for program quality.

Adult Learningdoi: 10.1177/10451595211046971

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  • Education
  • Workforce Issues