Innovations and Future Directions for Workforce Development in the Post-Recession Era
Author(s): Eyster, Lauren; Anderson, Theresa; Durham, Christin
Organizational Author(s): The Urban Institute
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Highlights roundtable participant discussions of workforce innovations and practices that hold the most promise and challenges for ensuring an effective U.S. workforce system and policy.
“The Urban Institute held a roundtable designed to inform a broad workforce policy agenda that reflected the changing economic and government landscape, explored new approaches to meeting employer demand for skilled workers and addressed unemployment. [Participants], representing a range of perspectives, focused on collaborative efforts that better connect employers with workforce programs, approaches that help build the education and work experience of under-skilled and unemployed workers, and advances in business practices and technology” (Website Abstract). “The roundtable focused on three key areas for building a workforce policy agenda: (1) collaborative efforts that better connect employers with workforce programs and services, (2) approaches that help build the education and work experience of under-skilled and unemployed workers to get them on a viable career path, and (3) advances in business practices and technology to better serve workforce system customers” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
Building education and workforce experience for under-skilled and underemployed workers: “Roundtable attendees focused on training approaches that offer a strong, well-articulated pathway to a career; blend classroom and work-based learning; and enhance the soft skills, such as communicating effectively and problem-solving, that employers value.... Educators and workforce development professionals are increasingly using the career pathways concept to develop education and training programs that provide workers with the skills and credentials they need to find family-sustaining employment in a high-demand industry” (p.5). “Despite growing evidence of the effectiveness of career pathways, there are some challenges to scaling and replicating these strategies and innovations beyond current investments, such as…significant federal and foundation funding for career pathways is time-limited, potentially affecting the sustainability of these approaches…Additionally, the evidence base for these approaches is in its early stages, and it may be challenging to convince government and other stakeholders to continue to invest in career pathways or work experience opportunities before there is more evidence. Finally, some argue that the career pathways approach leaves behind those that cannot move beyond entry-level jobs because of various barriers to employment, and that strategies should also seek to improve the quality of these entry-level jobs” (p.6). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)