MDRC in the News

Training Programs Promise Good Jobs Without College Degrees. Can They Deliver?

The Christian Science Monitor


…..Called “sector-based” or “skills-based” training, this model – of finding out what jobs community businesses need to fill and training people for them – has the potential to re-invigorate workforce development at a precarious time in the country’s economy, supporters say. According to employers and economists, there aren’t enough workers with the right skills to fill the plethora of jobs, from machinists to health technicians, that don’t require a college degree. That’s why twenty-one states now use sector-based training to plug those skills gaps in their local labor markets.  

The model also has gained national political traction in recent years. President Obama, once a staunch proponent of college-for-all, has devoted more attention to training workers for existing, unfilled jobs in his second term…..

…..Besides helping employers, studies show that skills-based training gives an earnings boost to workers in the middle of the economy, which has been hardest-hit by a shift in the labor market that makes it much harder to earn a living wage without post-secondary education. 

For instance, a June brief describing a controlled study of 2,600 low-wage workers reported a 14-percent rise, on average, in annual earnings – or $1,945 – for those who completed a skills-based training program. Researchers from MDRC, the public-policy organization that conducted the survey, characterized the findings as an “encouraging” indicator of their effectiveness…..

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