Changing Labor Markets and the U.S. Workforce Development System

  • Thomas Bailey
Part of the Plenum Studies in Work and Industry book series (SSWI)

Abstract

For all of the 1980s and much of the 1990s, the reform of the U.S. workforce development system has been driven by anxiety about international competition. This reform was focused primarily on high schools, but at the beginning of the new century, two trends have had a significant influence on the shape and direction of the workforce development reform agenda. The boom that lasted for most of the 1990s weakened the arguments that were motivated by the fear of competition from Japan and Germany and the large and persistent differential between the earnings of high school and college graduates has made policymakers view secondary schools as college- rather than workforce-preparation institutions. Rather than asking what high schools might do to prepare young people for work, reformers are preoccupied with whether high schools are providing the academic foundation that would prepare students for college. Moreover, the high school-college earnings gap is symptomatic of a growing inequality in the country, which should be a greater preoccupation for policymakers than it has been during the era of international competition-based education reform.

Keywords

Europe Income Resid Prep Lester 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute on Education and the Economy, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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