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Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

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  • Holzer, Harry J.

    ()
    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

In this paper I note the basic paradox of workforce development policy: that, in an era in which skills are more important than ever as determinants of labor market earnings, we spend fewer and fewer public (federal) dollars on workforce development over time. I present trends in funding and how the major federal programs at the Department of Labor and other agencies have evolved over time, noting the dramatic declines in funding (with the exception of Pell grants). I then review what we know about the cost-effectiveness of programs for adults and youth from the evaluation literature. I consider some other possible reasons for funding declines, such as the notion that other approaches (like supplementing the low earnings of workers with tax credits or early childhood programs) are more effective and address more serious problems. I review some newer developments in workforce policy, mostly at the state and local levels, and then conclude with some policy recommendations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3776.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3776

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Keywords: workforce development; poverty;

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  1. Heckman, James J., 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," IZA Discussion Papers 3515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  3. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Alexey Gorislavsky, 2006. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 0702, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  4. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2008. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends And Levels," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 200828, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  5. Robert J. LaLonde, 2003. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 517-586 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2001. "The Long-Term Gains from GAIN: A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 01-03, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. Allen Schirm & Nuria Rodriguez-Planas & Myles Maxfield & Christina Tuttle, 2003. "The Quantum Opportunity Program Demonstration: Short-Term Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 3655, Mathematica Policy Research.
  8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 189-194, May.
  9. Christopher J. O'Leary & Robert A. Straits & Stephen A. Wandner, 2004. "U.S. Job Training: Types, Participants and History," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  10. Dynarski, Susan & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2007. "College Grants on a Postcard: A Proposal for Simple and Predictable Federal Student Aid," Working Paper Series, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government rwp07-014, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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