U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
Summary of Written Testimony Submitted by Anthony P. Carnevale
Director, The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
A Stronger Workforce Investment System for a Stronger Economy
February 24, 2010
Access to postsecondary education and training has become crucial for maintaining access to middle class jobs; but, the institutional connections between labor markets and postsecondary education and training programs remain weak. Workforce development policy is sequestered in WIA, the One Stops and the Employment Services at USDOL; while secondary, postsecondary and adult education are sequestered in DOE. Consequently, the innovations that connect jobs and skill development get lost in the white spaces between the boxes in the government’s organizational chart. The Obama Administration’s FY 2011 USDOL budget offers a strong start with a request for a set aside of $261 million for Innovation Funds focused on “breaking down program silos” between DOE and DOL by creating “Workforce Innovation Partnerships”.
We aren’t likely to recover our pre-recession job levels for another 24 months. And it will be 36 more months before we achieve an unemployment rate approaching 5% and create enough jobs to employ the new job seekers who came into the labor market since this recession began. Between 2008 and 2018, the economy will create 47 million job openings: 14 million new jobs and 33 million job openings to replace retiring baby boomers. Job openings that require at least some postsecondary education or training will make up 64% of all job openings and will include the majority of long term career jobs. We project a cumulative increase of:
- 5 million more job openings for people with Master’s Degrees or better;
- 11 million more job openings for people with Bachelor’s Degrees;
- 14 million job openings for people with some college or AA’s;
- 17 million job openings for people with high school or less; and,
- 15 million jobs for people with postsecondary certificates.
The majority of job openings for people with high school or less will be low-wage jobs and many of these will be part time or transitional jobs. As the recovery proceeds over the next three years, there will be a growing mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the postsecondary education and training requirements of jobs. Our success in helping our fellow Americans to adapt to these new labor market realities will depend increasingly on our ability to break down the silos between our postsecondary education and training programs, job openings and career pathways. If we fail, many existing and new workers will be left behind.
We can best use the $261 million requested in President Obama’s 2011 Budget by funding demonstration projects that develop existing best practices such as:
- Structured “learn and earn programs like apprenticeship and on-the-job training”, as requested by the President;
- Compressed occupational training programs that integrate basic skills preparation with fast and intensive occupational training, leading to postsecondary certificates with previously demonstrated labor market value;
- Job and skill counseling for unemployed and underemployed experienced workers and working students tied to state-of- the-art information on earnings trajectories and career pathways;
- Accountability systems for maximizing the labor market value of postsecondary education and training programs by tying postsecondary transcript data funded under the ARRA with employer wage records data currently housed in the U.S. Employment Services; and,
- Statewide and nationwide development of on-line job search systems (Job Exchanges) tied to (Learning Exchanges) that match job openings and career pathways to available courses offered by postsecondary institutions as well as online courseware.
Read the Chronicle of Higher Education to learn more about Dr. Carnevale's testimony.
For full video of the hearing, click here.