Potential and Limits
EACH of the contributors to this book has looked carefully at one or another aspect of the nation's manpower policy and programs during the past two decades and has reached some broad judgments about their value to the individuals involved and to the nation at large. They have identified both positive and negative conclusions about the different training programs.
Those who looked at the distributional effects on personal income of these manpower efforts concluded that long-term effects were usually nonexistent or trivial. However, they concluded that those who participated in these programs were better off than they would otherwise have been.
The three analysts who addressed the interface between manpower and macroeconomic policy concluded that there is a role for selective-employment programs that can expand the number of jobs for the hard-to-employ. Such jobs generally pay low wages and therefore have less inflationary potential than jobs stimulated through the use of macro measures. But these analysts see little or no possibility of reaching the goal of full employment in the near future.
Most contributors noted that weaknesses in the data base interfered with reaching clear-cut judgments. We know too little about every aspect of these programs -- who entered; how long they stayed; what auxiliary services, such as occupational counseling, they received while they were in the program; whether they were assisted after they completed their programs; when they obtained jobs; how long those who obtained jobs held them; and how much they were paid.
But if better data had been available, that alone could not have assured that the assessments would be valid. Consider the following difficulties