A Future of Good Jobs? America's Challenge in the Global Economy

A Future of Good Jobs? America's Challenge in the Global Economy

A Future of Good Jobs? America's Challenge in the Global Economy

A Future of Good Jobs? America's Challenge in the Global Economy


In this book, which was the outgrowth of a conference sponsored by the Upjohn Institute in Washington,D. C., in June 2007, leading policy analysts frame the major challenges facing U. S. labor policy: Improving the skills of American workers so that they can better compete in a global economy; Addressing the crisis in our system of employer-sponsored health insurance; Minimizing the effects of dislocation due to immigration and trade; Removing barriers to employment for older workers; Improving the quality of jobs for low-wage workers without harming the competitiveness of American companies; Addressing the serious employment barriers of the disadvantaged. Each chapter in this volume tackles one of these policy challenges, identifying the key problems,evaluating the effectiveness of current policy approaches, and offering innovative, forward-thinking, but pragmatic alternative policies. Collectively, the chapters in this volume offer a clear road map for future labor market policy.


Are Skills the Problem?
Reforming the Education and
Training System in the United States

Robert I. Lerman American University, Urban Institute, and iza

Skill formation is a life cycle process. It begins in the womb
and continues on in the workplace. Education policy is only
one aspect of a successful skill formation policy, and not
necessarily the most important one

—James Heckman and Dimitriy Masterov (2005)

As the larger return to education and skill is likely the sin
gle greatest source of the long-term increase in inequality
policies that boost our national investment in education and
training can help reduce inequality while expanding eco
nomic opportunity…. the economically relevant concept
of education is much broader than the traditional course of
schooling from kindergarten through high school and into
college. Indeed, substantial economic benefits may result
from any form of training that helps individuals acquire eco
nomically and socially useful skills, including not only K-12
education, college, and graduate work but also on-the-job
training, course work at community colleges and vocational
schools, extension courses, on-line education, and training
in financial literacy

—Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of
the Federal Reserve (2007)

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