Preparing Adults for Health Care Careers

Hi Everyone,

Last night Obama talked about the administration's committment to prepare adults for the kinds of jobs that are available and match them with those jobs. People in healthcare found that even during the height of the recession, there were jobs open for nurses, medical assistants, medical coders, and others. These are good jobs to aspire to for those who are working their way through the adult education system!

Preparing adults for these kinds of jobs requires teaching them about sciencehealth information and the healthcare system. These topics are all complicated and challenging, so early exposure to the related concepts and vocabulary is crucial.

It seems worthwile to keep this in mind as we develop curricula and then career pathways for adult learners. This is a good reason to address health literacy in the classrooms, even in the early levels of ABE and ESOL. (For information on how to do that, see the discussion in the Health Literacy Group: Introduction to Health Literacy in ABE and ESOL.) 

There are also some good programs to help transition learners into community college programs for health care careers.

Here are a few resources:

(Thanks to Dirk Keaton for sharing most of these resources in the discussion: Resources for Addressing Health Literacy in ABE and ESOL Programs.)

I'd love to hear about any other programs, resources, or stories that will help our adult education community to prepare adult learners for health care careeers!

All the best,




Julie, thanks for this list of resources and for the reminder to us all that topics in health literacy are so important for a variety of reasons.  In addition to the rationale you give, instructors might also be interested to know that high school equivalency science assessments, such as the GED Science 2014 and others, have a focus on human health.  For example, the two focus themes on the GED Science assessment are "Human Health and Living Systems" and "Energy and Related Systems".  It would be great to hear from people using other high school equivalency assessments:  how are topics in human health used?

Topics and Issues in human health are also discussed in the LINCS Online Science Courses "Engaging the Adult Learner in Science" and "Scientific Practices in Context:  Planning and Lesson Development".  You can go to the LINCS Learning Portal at to sign in and take the courses.


Cheers, Susan Cowles