Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy

Research Report

Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy

What Do We Know? What Should We Do?
October 30, 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.

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