from Renewing America

Building the American Workforce

A CFR Working Paper

July 22, 2013

Report

More on:

Labor and Employment

United States

Overview

There has never been greater urgency for expanding and improving U.S. workforce training programs. To an unprecedented extent, employers now need and expect applicants with "middle skills" qualifications: a level of education and training beyond a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor's degree. But the supply of middle-skilled jobseekers lags behind. The federal government should corral the country's siloed and disjointed workforce-development programs in line with a common national strategy. It can start by developing performance measures as well as data warehouses that link workforce services with employment outcomes. Federal funding, which has been scaled back in recent decades, should be restored. The training programs themselves should also be better targeted at low-income and disadvantaged workers, provide more longer-term services, and engage more directly with employers for stable job placements.