Preparing America’s Workforce: Are We Looking in the Rear-View Mirror?
The great conservative political philosopher Edmund Burke, who probably would not have been a reader of The American Prospect, once observed, You can never plan the future by the past. But when it comes to preparing the American workforce for the jobs of the future, we may be doing just that. For about a quarter-century, demand for labor appears to have shifted toward the college-educated and away from high school graduates and dropouts. This shift, most economists believe, is the primary (though not the sole) reason for rising income inequality, and there is no end in sight. Economists refer to this phenomenon by an antiseptic name: skill-biased technical progress. In plain English, it means that the labor market has turned ferociously against the low skilled and the uneducated.
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