Raising Job Quality and Skills for American Workers: Creating More-Effective Education and Workforce Development Systems in the States (Research Report)
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.
Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: Why Fighting Child Poverty in the Great Recession Makes Sense (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: December 07, 2011||Publication Date: November 30, 2011|
Child poverty generates serious long-term economic costs not only for those children (when they become adults), but for the U.S. economy as a whole. This paper argues that these long-term costs will rise because of the Great Recession, as child poverty rises substantially and remains elevated for years to come. Children growing in newly poor families, and/or those whose parents suffer permanent job loss, will likely have worse educational and employment outcomes. Those young people who enter the labor market during this period will suffer reduced earnings as well. This will impose fiscal as well as economic costs on the U.S. in the future. Investments to reduce child poverty in both the short and long-terms thus make economic sense for the U.S., despite the nation’s ongoing fiscal crisis.
Reducing Poverty and Economic Distress after ARRA: Next Steps for Short-Term Recovery and Long-Term Economic Security (Summary)
|Posted to Web: September 21, 2010||Publication Date: September 16, 2010|
Even though children in the United States have higher poverty rates than adults and the elderly, federal spending on kids is disproportionately small and has been shrinking for years. The recession threatened to eat away further at those investments, prompting the president and Congress to temporarily boost funding for some two dozen federal programs that benefit children. To support the development of children in low-income families, we recommend making some of those provisions permanent. We also propose new investments in the preschool and postsecondary years when public spending is at its lowest, while also experimenting with new initiatives to support low-income children.
The "Great Recession" and the Well-Being of American Children (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: July 15, 2010||Publication Date: July 15, 2010|
High rates of child poverty exist in the United States even in the best of times, and this poverty tends to limit the health, education, and earnings of adults who grew up poor throughout their lives. This creates costs not only for the individuals themselves and their families, but for the U.S. economy as a whole. The current recession will raise child poverty rates substantially and for many years to come, thus exacerbating these problems. Even short spells of poverty or parental unemployment can scar children and youth for many years. Policies that tend to limit child poverty in the next few years by strengthening the safety net, raising employment, or improving the skills of disadvantaged children and youth might thus have a high social payoff over time.
Improving Education and Employment for Disadvantaged Young Men (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: June 08, 2010||Publication Date: June 08, 2010|
Low high school graduation rates and sharply declining employment rates continue to plague disadvantaged youth, especially young men. We review the evidence base on programs and policies such as youth development for adolescents and young teens; programs seeking to improve educational attainment and employment for in-school youth; and programs that try to "reconnect" those who are out of school and frequently out of work, including public employment programs. We identify a number of programmatic strategies that are promising or even proven, based on rigorous evaluations, for disadvantaged youth with different circumstances.
Expanding the EITC to Help More Low-Wage Workers (Research Brief)
|Posted to Web: May 06, 2010||Publication Date: May 06, 2010|
The case for expanding the EITC for workers without qualifying children is compelling, as the current EITC provides little help to this group. We argue that the EITC for these workers should:
- provide these workers with a strong incentive to increase work effort;
- provide a significant subsidy to low-earning workers working near a full-time work level;
- begin phasing out only after an individual is working at a level at least equivalent to full-time minimum wage work;
- apply to both prime-age and younger workers; and
- be effectively coordinated with the Making Work Pay Credit.
Testimony on Income and Poverty in the United States: 2008 (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: November 02, 2009||Publication Date: October 20, 2009|
Between 2007 and 2008, real incomes fell and poverty rose in the United States, Institute Fellow Harry Holzer testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Even if the recession ends this year, rising unemployment will mean that real income keeps falling while poverty increases for a few more years — and almost certainly by much more than occurred between 2007 and 2008. It will likely take several years beyond 2010 before real income and poverty fully recover from the effects of the downturn.
A Safety Net For the Least Fortunate (Commentary)
|Posted to Web: September 10, 2009||Publication Date: September 10, 2009|
In this Washington Post commentary, Institute Fellow Harry Holzer suggests ways to help those most adversely affected by the economic downturn—low-income single mothers, disadvantaged adults, youths, and their families.
Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy (Occasional Paper)
|Posted to Web: February 17, 2009||Publication Date: August 19, 2008|
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 in program evolution over time for programs funded by the Department of Labor and others. I then review the cost-effectiveness of programs for adults and youth from the evaluation literature. I consider some other possible reasons for funding declines, and some newer developments in workforce policy, mostly at the state and local levels, before concluding with some policy recommendations.
Workforce Development and the Disadvantaged (Series/Perspectives on Low-Income Working Families)
|Posted to Web: October 30, 2008||Publication Date: October 30, 2008|
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) officially expired in 2003 but has not yet been reauthorized. With a new administration and Congress due in 2009, what should they consider regarding workforce development and the disadvantaged population? This brief reviews the arguments for a workforce development system, examining both the strengths and weaknesses of the current WIA program. Among the proposals are expanded funding, and planning grants which states could use to target industries and sectors with unmet demands for skilled workers. They would then identify potential "pathways" for different groups of disadvantaged workers to meet those demands.
|Posted to Web: October 02, 2008||Publication Date: September 01, 2008|