Magazine article Talent Development

Recovery for Whom?

Magazine article Talent Development

Recovery for Whom?

Article excerpt

The U.S. and global economies are on the upswing, reports say.

MSNBC, for example, cites as evidence increased consumer spending and investment growth in the United States, rising consumer confidence in Europe, and global expansion by China and India.

But not everyone is reaping the benefits of an improving economy. In the United States, minorities, immigrants, and the working poor are still struggling.

According to the Washington Times, although the U.S. jobless rate declined in fall 2003, the unemployment rate of African Americans rose more than 2 percent in the last year.

Growth in employment among the U.S. Hispanic community, which completely flatlined during the downturn, is back up, the Times reports. But the current rate is far below the pre-recession rate (2 percent versus 5 percent).

Immigrants to the United States are facing their own obstacles, says a report by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Many people entering the country lack English literacy, so they end up working in low-paying jobs and living in poverty.

The working poor eek out an existence under difficult circumstances. Writer Anna Quindlen reports in a Newsweek column that soup kitchens and food pantries that once served mainly single men, often substance abusers or the homeless, now see more families and people from a range of low-paying professions.

The job growth that people are talking about is often in low-paying service jobs, says Quindlen. Half of the professions expected to take off in the next decade are in the lowest-paying job groups.

There's an opportunity for training to be the hero. In the Times article, Representative Hijah Cummings (D-MD, also chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus) calls investments in human capital "essential." He urges support for job training programs that "give individuals the tools and resources they need [for] positions."

CLASP reports that the most effective programs for low-income workers offer a range of services, including job search, education, and job training. Those programs are more effective and the results last longer than programs that only provide job search or basic education, the report says.

Few programs provide the necessary mix of services. The CLASP study offers recommendations for creating such programs.

People in the United States overwhelmingly support job training programs and see them as crucial for improving the economy. A study by the Workforce Alliance found that 90 percent of the registered voters polled think education and training are important.

People are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports education and training, the study says. Campaign messages emphasizing job training were more compelling to voters than those about homeland security, tax cuts, or environmental protection.

Worst-Paid Jobs

These rankings are based on the relation of pay to how valuable or loathsome the work is. In descending order to worst paid:

8. restaurant dishwasher

7. consumer loan collection agent

6. slaughterer or meat-packer

5. police officer

4. medical resident

3. funeral home and morgue attendant

2. EMT or paramedic

1. preschool teacher

Source/ CBS MarketWatch, as reported in Kennedy's Career Strategist

More Info

http://msnbc.msn. …

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