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The Role of Public Policy in skills Development of Black Workers in the 21st Century

In: Building Skills for Black Workers: Preparing for the Future Labor Market

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Abstract

This paper discusses the role of public policy in the skills development system of the U.S. It further examines the implications of that policy for the skill development and career progression of black workers. The paper describes the current "system" for skills development in the United States as a two-tiered system: The "first-chance" or conventional system allows individuals to proceed through an extensive public elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational sector that is supplemented by private educational institutions and is followed by employer-provided job training and work experience. The "second-chance" system is designed for individuals who do not successfully traverse the first-chance system. The second-chance system includes public job training programs, public assistance, rehabilitation programs for offenders, and educational remediation. The public agency for labor market exchange, the Employment Service, has tended to play a significant role in facilitating employment in the second-chance system. Paradoxically, despite the tremendous success of the U.S. economy, including the fact that it has the world's leading level of worker productivity, there is a pervasive perception that the current system for skills development in the U.S. is failing. Lagging school achievement (particularly in urban areas), high unemployment rates for certain groups of the population, and employer concerns about the quality of entry level workers suggest that the current system may be neither efficient nor equitable. The paper starts out by considering the rationale for public policy intervention in the skills development process. It then reviews public policy at the federal, state, and local levels that fosters skills development. At the federal level, the major policy emphasis currently is the consolidation of job training and labor market exchange programs through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). State and local entities administer
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Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Bartik & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2004. "The Role of Public Policy in skills Development of Black Workers in the 21st Century," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers,in: Cecilia A. Conrad (ed.), Building Skills for Black Workers: Preparing for the Future Labor Market, pages 127-148 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:uchaps:tjbkh2004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Robert H. Haveman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1984. "Schooling and Economic Well-Being: The Role of Nonmarket Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 377-407.
    3. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
    4. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    5. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
    6. Shazia Raffiullah Miller & James E. Rosenbaum, "undated". "The Missing Link: Social Infrastructure and Employers' Use of Information," IPR working papers 96-15, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2002. "Income Replacement and Reemployment Programs in Michigan and Neighboring States," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 02-86, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    skill development; job training; black workers; public policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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