Reducing Inequality, Boosting Mobility and Productivity
Edited by David Neumark, Yong-seong Kim and Sang-Hyop Lee
Chapter 9: Building labor market skills among disadvantaged US workers: four-year college degrees and alternatives
This chapter reviews recent empirical evidence on skill-building among low-income youth and adults in the United States. It focuses on skills and credentials that are well-rewarded in the labor market and the different means of attaining them. It reviews benefits and limitations of college attendance for disadvantaged youth and adults. It also considers alternatives to higher education (high-quality career and technical education, models of work-based learning and sectoral training for youth or adults. A caveat is that good post-secondary education and workforce programs will mostly not make up for poor K-12 academic preparation. The need for other policies to strengthen early education outcomes, or to provide incentives to and assist workers whose skills will remain very poor, remains in effect.
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