Creating Effective Education and Workforce Policies for Metropolitan Labor Markets in America


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From the Penn IUR and Penn GSE sponsored conference:

“Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America: The Policy, Practice and Research Issues"

May 25-26, 2011

Organized by Laura Perna, a professor in Penn GSE, and Susan Wachter, a professor in Penn’s Wharton School, “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs” explores the most effective institutional and public-policy strategies to be sure high school and college students and adult learners have the knowledge and skills required for future employment.

“The conference addresses such critical questions as: How do we define success with regard to the role of education in preparing students for work?” Perna said. “How well are different educational providers preparing future workers? What is the role of public policy in improving connections between education and work?

“It seeks to improve our understanding of several fundamental dimensions of this issue through insights from federal, state and local policy leaders, college administrators and researchers.”

Guest speakers include Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell; Lori Shorr, chief education officer to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Charles Kolb from the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C.; Claudia Neuhauser from the University of Minnesota; Bethany Krom from the Mayo Clinic; and Harry Holzer from Georgetown University.

“Much recent attention focuses on the need to improve high school graduation and college degree completion. But, relatively less attention has focused on whether graduates and degree recipients have the skills and education required by employers,” Perna said.

The event is sponsored by the Penn’s Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Interdisciplinary Methods for Field-Based Research in Education, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences in collaboration with Penn’s Institute for Urban Research.

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Creating Effective Education and Workforce Policies for Metropolitan Labor Markets in America

  1. 1. Creating Effective Education and Workforce Policies for Metropolitan Labor Markets in America<br />Harry J. Holzer<br />Georgetown University<br />Urban Institute<br />May 2011<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />For What Kinds of Jobs Should We Prepare Workers? The Future of the US Labor Market<br /> Preparing Our Youth: Challenges and Opportunities <br />US Metro Areas: What Additional Challenges Do They Present?<br />Policy Approaches: Effective Education and Workforce Policy in a Metropolitan Context<br />Moving Ahead…<br />
  3. 3. What Kinds of Jobs?<br />Good-Paying Jobs in America: Require More Skills and Credentials than in the Past (Holzer et al., Where are All the Good Jobs Going, 2011)<br />They can be found at the middle (i.e., requiring some postsecondary but short of a BA) as well as the high end of the educational spectrum<br />Reports of “Polarization” (D. Autor) are vastly overblown…Disappearance of good-paying production and clerical jobs, but growth of others requiring performance of nonroutine tasks …No “Dumbbell” or “Hourglass” Labor Market!<br />
  4. 4. Detailed Middle-Skill Occupations Showing Strong Wage and Employment Growth <br />Construction Crafts (Mostly pre-bubble)<br />Health Technician/LPNs/Respiratory or Speech Therapists/Dental or Medical Asst.<br />Other Technicians (Electrical/Electronic)<br />Other Maintenance/Repair (Mechanical, Heating/Cooling Systems, IT) <br />Legal or Protective Services<br />
  5. 5. Challenges in Preparing Youth for Postsecondary Education and Workforce<br />Weak Academic Preparation and “Achievement Gaps” (starting early in life)<br />Financial Costs of Higher Education, Limited Information, Pressures on Time (Young Parents)<br />Weak Career and Technical Education Systems and Limited Early Work Experience<br />Fragmented Education and Workforce Systems; Disconnect from Employers; Weak Incentives<br />
  6. 6. Result: Disappointing Education and Employment Outcomes <br />High Dropout Rate from High School (~ 25%)<br />Postsecondary Institutions: Limited Access, Very High Rates of Noncompletion!<br />Employment and Earnings: Declining for Those with High School or Less (Men); High Variance among Those with “Some College” or Even Among Those with Certificates and Degrees<br />
  7. 7. Opportunities: What Actually Works?<br />High School Completion: Small Schools of Choice, ChalleNGe<br />High-Quality CTE: Career Academies, Apprenticeships<br />Community Colleges: Opening Doors, I-BEST(?)<br />Labor Market: Sectoral Programs, Year Up; Incumbent Worker Training; Community College Certifications in High-Demand/Technical Fields <br />Systems: Youth Opportunities<br />
  8. 8. Opportunities: Innovations That Look Promising<br />New Efforts Funded by Foundations and Competitive DOL/DED grants: <br />Multiple Pathways to Graduation<br />Bridge Programs and Integrated Remediation<br />Alternative training and education approaches, such as modular courses and stackable credentials<br />Career Pathways and Sectoral Models<br />Reconnection Models (Gateways)<br />Data-Driven Career Counseling and Institutional Incentives <br />
  9. 9. Summary of Effective Strategies<br />Improve Attainments of Secondary and Postsecondary Certifications<br />Active Links to Labor Market and Employers in High-Wage and High-Demand Sectors (Not Too Narrow)<br />Range of Effective Supports and Services<br />
  10. 10. US Metro Areas: Some Facts <br />Continuing High Rates of Residential Segregation by Race and/or Income<br />Decentralization of Employment Opportunities – Esp. High-Wage Employers (Andersson and Lane)<br />Within the Suburbs – Growing Gaps between Low-Income and High-Income (Holzer and Stoll, Brookings 2007)<br />Overall: Labor Markets are Metropolitan but Highly Uneven Distributions of Populations and Access to Jobs!<br />
  11. 11. Implications of Metro Characteristics for Outcomes (Why “Place” Matters)<br />Segregation and Poverty Concentration: Reduce Achievement and Educational Attainment among Minorities, Poor (Cutler and Glaeser; Hanushek and Rivkin; Sampson and Sharkey; Shonkoff and Phillips)<br />Spatial Mismatch: Reduces Access to Employers and Worsens Labor Market Outcomes (Kain, Holzer, Ihlanfeldt and Sjoquist, Raphael, Weinberg) <br />
  12. 12. Approaches to Metropolitan Policy<br />Residential Mobility (e.g., MTO)<br />Economic/Neighborhood/School Redevelopment (e.g., EZ, NMTC; Hope VI and Choice Neighborhoods; Harlem Children Zone and Promise Neighborhoods, Charter Schools)<br />Mixed Strategies: Improve Access to Good Schools and Jobs (BtW, Vouchers); Metropolitan Development Strategies (Sustainable Communities; Transit-Oriented Development)<br />
  13. 13. Improving Education and Workforce Preparation for Disadvantaged Workers and Neighborhoods<br />At Schools Serving the Disadvantaged: Improve Linkages to Metro-Wide Labor Market and Employers plus Supports/Services<br />Build Metro-Wide Education and Workforce Systems<br />
  14. 14. Key Ingredients<br />Labor Market Data – LED, etc. <br />Intermediaries – Overcome Spatial Gaps and Bias, Provide Range of Services, Coordination <br />TA and Incentives for Institutions - Be Careful of Creaming, Lower Standards, etc.<br />Regional Institutions – Limits: Municipal Boundaries and Jurisdictions <br />
  15. 15. Chances to Move Ahead<br />Reauthorization: ESEA, WIA<br />Competitive Grants/Innovation Funds: TAACCCT, etc. (Depts. Of Labor and Education)<br />New System-Building Grants to States or Metropolitan Authorities<br />