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This paper discusses the importance of effective training and workforce development programs as part of a broader strategy to increase the competitiveness of American workers. Although rapid technological change and increasing global competition have delivered great economic benefits to the U.S. economy overall, the development of new and more productive industries has caused some Americans to experience significant declines in their earnings and job prospects; the Great Recession exacerbated these longer-term trends. Workers with less education and those who have been displaced from long-tenured jobs face particular challenges, and effective job training programs are an important component of policies to help these workers.

The Hamilton Project proposes two general principles that can guide policy-makers in improving training programs to aid American workers:

1) Training funds should be directed to programs with a track record of success in improving earnings for the specific target population and to those workers who can benefit the most from those programs; and

2) Training programs should directly engage employer and industry partners, or actively guide students to career-specific training.

 

 

2011
Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney
The Brookings Institute

To improve the employment rates and earnings of Americans workers, we 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 proposes 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 suggests that these grants could generate benefits that are several times larger than their costs, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates among the disadvantaged.

2011
Harry J. Holzer
The Hamilton Project

This comprehensive report from the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce highlights individual state data on the growth of jobs that will require a postsecondary credential and other labor market trends.

2010
Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce