“Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report.”

In the recently published Richmond Times-Dispatch article, Will robots take your job? Quarter of U.S. workers at risk, Brookings estimates that 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation – meaning at least 70% of their tasks could soon be performed by machines using current technology.

It will come as no surprise those most likely to be affected are workers with the lowest skills, the lowest educational attainment. Adults without high school diplomas (lack of high school credentials is a reliable proxy indicator of literacy issues) are twice as likely to be unemployed or working low-wage jobs. When low-wage, low-skills jobs are replaced by technology, the impact will be devastating for these adults as they struggle to be retrained and “up-skilled”.

In Proliteracy’s report on The Case for Investment in Adult Education, it is estimated that 5 million jobs are currently unfilled due to a lack of available skilled workers. Will the gap continue to widen as more skilled workers are needed to fill jobs? The study also shows a correlation participating in adult literacy programs and increased literacy and income levels, improved education, greater income equality and a break in the cycle of inter-generational illiteracy.

The READ Center and adult literacy programs in Virginia and across the United States are helping adults improve their literacy skills so they can take on new employment, education and life challenges. An investment in The READ Center, in adult education, is an investment that can pay dividends in the future. Literacy is the base for all other education and will be critical for workers to be successful in the age of technology. The READ Center believes everyone needs and deserves a literate life.