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.
To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit copyright.com, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.