Job Training & Apprenticeships

Most policy makers agree that workforce training is essential to America’s competitiveness. Job training is especially important for workers without a college education, for whom it is often the key to a better job or any job at all.

Apprenticeship and other models that integrate classroom and workplace learning are more effective than years of classroom education followed by work without structured support for learning. But apprenticeships remain infrequently used in the United States—a reality that hasn’t changed despite three decades of policymakers’ professed affection for the model.


People-Powered Prosperity

The most prosperous states are anchored by an educated and healthy workforce and offer opportunities for people to innovate and contribute. Moving into the 2018 statewide elections and subsequent governor’s administration, Georgia leaders can seize a golden opportunity to chart a better economic course. People-Powered Prosperity details a new vision for how state lawmakers can pursue that strategy and ways they can responsibly pay for it. The report outlines a public investment plan aimed at four strategic goals, which include eight specific policy recommendations such as targeted funding hikes for public schools and an ambitious ramp-up of assistance to help families afford child care. We also present a case to show how Georgia can afford to raise $1 billion in new annual revenues as a meaningful down payment on the strategy, a shared investment of reasonable scope.

The State of Working Rhode Island 2017: Paving the Way to Good Jobs

In the face of a rapidly evolving economy, Rhode Island’s education and workforce systems need to keep pace, to meet the dual needs of workers (who need to remain employable), and employers (who need skilled workers to produce the goods and provide the services demanded by consumers). As we invest in the Rhode Island workforce, we need to ensure that the existing workforce, especially those currently lacking English language and other foundational skills or higher levels of education, are able to fully engage in the economy, by providing them with the opportunity to “skill up” to shape a more prosperous future for their families, and for Rhode Island.

This report focuses on the role that both education and training play in helping workers thrive, drawing on research at the national and state level to better understand the strategies that work to improve adult education, especially for those currently working in low-wage, lower skilled jobs. While formal postsecondary education – in the form of an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree, or higher – may be the right path for many, others can benefit from attaining occupational credentials, either via apprenticeship programs, or college-based certificate programs.

Because there will remain many low-skilled jobs, we need to adopt policies that raise the floor for those workers – so that full-time work offers both dignity of work and a livable wage. And we need to be intentional about addressing disparities based on race and ethnicity – such as persist in educational attainment, unemployment rates, and median wages.


The State of Working Wisconsin 2017: Facts & Figures

  • August 31, 2017
  • COWS
  • Joel Rogers, and Laura Dresser.

For more than two decades now, annually, on Labor Day, COWS reports on how working people are faring in the state. The State of Working Wisconsin, released biannually on even-numbered years since  1996, is our long-form report, and looks at the economy comprehensively from a working-family perspective. In odd-numbered years, also biannually, we provide a more abbreviated and focused report, called The State of Working Wisconsin 2017: Facts & Figures.

Innovative Training Solutions for Shifting Workforce Demands

  • July 5, 2017
  • Staff Report

Pairing skilled workers with quality, high-paying jobs is one way to ensure Mississippi families succeed. However, limited access to skills training and low educational attainment keep many workers from securing good-paying skilled jobs. This gap between middle-skill positions and a comparably skilled workforce limits productivity for employers and access to jobs that support self-sufficiency for working families. Bridging the gap starts with investments in working families and skills training opportunities that are accessible for all Mississippians. This brief examines two enterprising programs tackling the intersections of persistent poverty, low educational attainment levels, and high unemployment rates, which threaten the economic security of Mississippians.