Literacy in the Factory

It is often assumed it is not necessary to be able to read to work in a factory. This is becoming less and less the case as factory equipment is becoming ever more complex and as safety procedures ever more tight. It might be the case that you can be a migrant worker in China fresh in from the countryside with no reading skills and be able to secure some type of work in a factory making alarm clocks or Christmas decorations for dollar shops abroad, but it is not the case in the USA.

Without reading and writing skills it is very difficult to fill out an employment form, to fill out your tax returns and to apply for social benefits. It is also difficult to get a driver’s licence without some basic literacy skills.

As the basic manual-labor orientated jobs are being outsourced to cheaper countries in South America and Asia, it means that the jobs that are available in Colorado and indeed the rest of the USA require skills.

For example, vacuum furnace with carbon fibre insulation requires a lot of studying in order to be operated safely. Not only are standard maintenance practices such as cleaning and lubrication required, but also constant monitoring is needed to check for leaks in the joints. There is a real risk with vacuum furnances of burns and electrocution if safety procedures are not followed. With oil diffusion pumps if the fill pump is opened while the oil is hot it can lead to an explosion. Maintenance of furnace chamber internals can only be done with correct space entry and electrical lockout procedures. If not residual gases can cause asphyxiation.

This example of the complexity of modern factory equipment clearly shows the importance of safety in the factory workplace. This can only be achieved by carefully studying machinery and being able to read safety manuals and pass written as well as practical safety tests.

Why Help Immigrants Learn English

Many migrants to the US struggle with basic literacy in the English Language.  Society as whole is wise when it offers classes and resources to help immigrants master the intricacies of our language.

Residents of our country become net contributors to our economy as their English approves.  With English skills comes the ability go get better jobs and thus pay more taxes.  Also they start to gain access to the credit market, making them stronger consumers and drivers of Economic growth.

As education, English skills, and experience improve, many enterprising immigrants start new businesses.  These businesses in turn can increase employment levels amonst new immigrants and citizens alike as they expand and create more jobs!

Other benefits to English literacy is that immigrants with this skill can access the English language internet, rather than relying on the small portions of the internet written in their native tongue. 

Websites like may be great resources for people living out of the country, but hold little benefits for people who have moved to the mountains of Colorado!