Friday, July 21, 2017

Knocking Workforce Development -- Again!

A few weeks ago I tuned in and out of All In with Chris Hayes fulminating about some new Trump transgression -- this time about jobs and the economy, With his wonderfully incredulous, Clark-Kent look, he said something like: "And all they offered was workforce development." This was the week of apprenticeship announcements in the Midwest.

Sooner than later, most recent presidents turn desperately to employment and training as a response to economic woes until, hopefully the business cycle churns out some growth.  In the case of Obama, he spent much of his first presidential campaign lambasting the promise of skills training in light of big economic changes.  And then he embraced what he had denounced.

There's a lot to worry about with Trump's workforce announcements -- lack of wage progression, massive proposed cuts in workforce dollars and rollback of worker protections.  I find it ironic that he touts public private partnership funding for apprenticeships (mostly union-employer joint training agreements) while calling for informal, non-regulated apprenticeships.

Workforce development has come a long way in the last twenty years in terms of strategies and outcomes.  There is still a long way to go. It would be helpful if pundits got the story right without jumping on the rhetorical bandwagon.

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