Examines evidence of existing workforce program effectiveness and proposes new competitive federal grants to foster education and workforce systems and activities.

“To improve the employment rates and earnings of Americans workers, [the author suggested the] need to create more-coherent and more-effective education and workforce development systems, focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on disadvantaged youth and adults, and with education and training more clearly targeted towards firms and sectors that provide good-paying jobs. This paper proposed a new set of competitive grants from the federal government to states that would fund training partnerships between employers in key industries, education providers, workforce agencies, and intermediaries at the state level, plus a range of other supports and services. The grants would especially reward the expansion of programs that appear successful when evaluated with randomized controlled trial (RCT) techniques. The evidence suggested that these grants could generate benefits that are several times larger than their costs, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates among the disadvantaged” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Raising Job Quality and Skills for American Workers: Creating More-Effective Education and Workforce Development Systems in the States

Major Findings & Recommendations

“To raise employment levels and earnings in the United States, [the author] proposes a new set of grants to fund more effective education and workforce systems at the state level that would be more supportive of firms that create good-paying jobs, perhaps encouraging them to create even more. The grants would fund partnerships of employers, training providers, and intermediaries at the state and local levels, and would fund a range of specific services and activities. Criteria have been laid out for the awarding of grants, including the extent to which they target underserved populations and growing sectors, the extent of services provided, the extent to which other sources of public and private funding are leveraged, and plans for rigorous evaluation of outcomes and impacts. This proposal builds on a body of research that indicates the success and potential for further targeting training towards firms and sectors that create good-paying jobs. The proposal does not reinvent the wheel or duplicate existing programs, but is specifically designed to build on efforts that are already under way in many places. If effectively designed and implemented, such a grants program could significantly improve the employment rates as well as the earnings of targeted groups over the next few years and beyond” (p.18). (Abstractor: Author)