Magazine article Talent Development

Anthony Carnevale: Research Professor, Director, Center on Education and the Workforce Georgetown University Washington, D.C

Magazine article Talent Development

Anthony Carnevale: Research Professor, Director, Center on Education and the Workforce Georgetown University Washington, D.C

Article excerpt

Professor and economist Anthony Carnevale is the research professor and director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, an independent, not-for-profit research and policy institute that studies the link between education, career qualifications, and workforce demands. Spanning more than 30 years, his career includes leadership positions with the Committee for Economic Development, the Educational Testing Service, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. In 1983, ASTD recruited him to serve as the founding president of the Institute for Workplace Learning.

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Q | HOW DID YOU INITIALLY BECOME INTERESTED IN WORKFORCE AND EMPLOYMENT POLICY ISSUES?

I was raised in a household and in a place where there were no jobs--Northern Maine in the 1950s. That, I suppose, made me curious about work. And then there are a couple of other reasons: I think that ultimately, I became interested because I'm still pretty close to being an immigrant. My mother was Irish and my father was Italian. So they had an immigrant's interest in The American Dream, which is the striving--that is, the belief--that there is opportunity.

I've always associated jobs and the opportunity for education with the essential American mission and what makes the United States different. Learning and work are two authentic human urges; I think they're fundamental. In this society, those urges are embedded in the culture as well. That is, we welcome anyone who is willing to work. For me, it was always the tension between that commitment and the reality of it.

I come at education from the job side. I guess that's what distinguishes my career in many ways.

Q | WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND STARTING THE INSTITUTE FOR WORKPLACE LEARNING BACK IN THE 1980s?

I had worked mostly in policy and politics in a variety of roles, almost all to do with jobs and education and training. And the action shifted. After the 1980 to 1981 recession, it was clear that there was a massive restructuring of the economy--essentially a move away from manufacturing and natural resource industries toward service industries.

I became involved with the institute largely as a result of two people at ASTD. Bob Craig, who for decades produced the Training and Development Handbook and was the Washington representative, and Curtis Plott--the president of ASTD for many years. …

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