LAS VEGAS -- Hiring managers holding job fairs are finding a majority of the applicants for jobs involving handling money don't have basic math skills. Adult education programs attempt to close the gap, but not everybody can find help.
There are plenty of free classes for people still working to get their high school diploma. But unemployed people who already have their diploma must either pay hundreds of dollars for college classes or re-learn these career math skills on their own.
At a recent restaurant job fair at the Venetian, hiring managers asked cashier applicants what was 17 percent of 100. A majority of the cashier applicants failed to correctly answer this basic math question.
"A cashier, counter position where the vast majority of their job is handling money, those people probably would not move on. They would have got a courtesy interview. They likely did not get the job," said Zach Conine, vice president of I Love Burgers.
The Clark County School District educates 22,000 adults in 40 campuses. But once these men and women get their GED diplomas, there's few places to refresh those skills.
"At the present time, for an adult who has already earned a high school diploma and forgotten some of the basic skills, there really are no public option available to them," said CCSD Adult Education Director Robert Henry.
If the unemployed cannot afford the $218 charge for a basic math course at the College of Southern Nevada, learning math independently from library books remains one of the last options.
Nearly 3,900 people are taking those math classes next semester. But that means the classes are almost full, removing yet another option for those hoping to re-learn basic math before applying for work.
In this economy, with dozens of applicants for each job, employers can afford to be choosy about who they hire. If applicants aren't prepared for these questions, they may find themselves leaving an interview unqualified and unhirable.
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