Reading 4U: Lifelong Learning

In the U.S.A., the education of adults goes on in many different places for many different reasons. At least 25 million adults (about 13% of the adult population) are enrolled in classes, nearly all as part-time students. Most of these classes are not for college credit but for knowledge that the student can use on the job, for job advancement, to pursue a hobby, or for personal growth. Programs commonly called "adult education" or "continuing education" are operated by many schools and community colleges. In recent years, private learning centers have also opened up, offering inexpensive classes for adults in a wide variety of skills and activities. A typical catalog might offer classes in how to cook a Chinese dinner, invest in the stock market, improve your spelling, making friends, or even give your partner a massage. Many adults enjoy taking classes where they can learn something new and also meet people who share this new interest.

  Many more classes are taken at the workplace. Hospitals, businesses, and museums, for example, offer courses to help employees improve job-related skills. Some companies, rather than operate their own classes, will offer to pay the tuition if an employee goes back to school to learn a skill that the company needs. In the U.S.A., where technology rapidly makes some skills obsolete and new ones essential, workers at all levels realize that lifelong learning is necessary. Even professional people-doctors, teachers, accountants, dentists, and engineers-continue to study to keep up with new techniques in their fields.
  Education, whether it occurs on the college campus or elsewhere, is an important element in the life of an American adult. The American dream of becoming important in one's career and financially successful is most often achieved through education.