How can we help workers at the lower end of the income scale? Laura Tyson:
...The integration of poorly educated workers – particularly those with a high school education or less – into the work force will be an increasing challenge. Sector-specific programs that link the training of participants to the needs of employers are proving to be an effective way to provide relevant postsecondary education for such workers.
Successful programs often rely on input from or partnerships with company and industry partners to design courses, to provide internships and apprenticeships, and to encourage workers to invest in courses and fields of study required by available jobs.
Cooperating with local business leaders, community colleges, which account for nearly half of all college enrollments, can play a major role in the design and delivery of such programs. ... Unfortunately, projected steep cuts in federal, state and local funds for education and training threaten ... such programs.
Finally, it is important to note that the skills of the new workers entering the labor force during the next decade will depend on the education of today’s children and youth. And there are some very worrisome trends.
The fraction of Americans with more education than their parents of the same sex is falling. ... The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States has increased to about 22 percent... Children raised in poverty are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to complete college.
The inequality in the educational opportunities of children is stark... As a recent McKinsey report said, “The gaps in education by income in the U.S. impose the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.” ...
The list of options is pretty short. There are a substantial number of people who do not get education beyond high school, and won't no matter what we do. So it's hard not to worry about how this group will fare as the global economy continues to develop (we already have some answers, and the two-tiered economy that has emerged in recent decades is not encouraging).