Migration Policy Institute
The Skills of Immigrants: What PIAAC Tells Us
Michael Fix, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President
Jeanne Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst; Manager, MPI Data Hub, MPI
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, MPI
Demetra Smith Nightingale, Chief Evaluation Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
Andy Van Kleunen, Chief Executive Officer, National Skills Coalition
Literacy, numeracy, and computer skills are key to full participation in today’s global, knowledge-based societies. Developed and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is the largest and most innovative direct assessment undertaken to date of the cognitive skills of working-age adults (16 to 65) in 24 OECD countries. Using 2012 PIAAC data, MPI analyzed U.S. scores on English literacy and numeracy among U.S. immigrant adults and explored how their cognitive skills are related to key immigrant integration outcomes such as employment, income, access to training, and health. At this event MPI authors present findings from their report Through an Immigrant Lens: PIAAC Assessment of the Competencies of Adults in the United States, and discuss what their analysis reveals about the literacy of the first- and second-generation immigrant population in the United States, the U.S. education and workforce training system, and the implications for the future of the U.S. labor market and its role in the global economy. Commentaries setting the results in the context of the United States workforce and education policies will be presented by Demetra Smith Nightingale and Andy Van Kleunen, and MPI’s Demetrios G. Papademetriou will set the results in the global context.