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Identifying Gaps and Setting Priorities for Employment and Training Research

July 1, 2011

The report summarizes recent workforce and employment related research, to identify current gaps in employment and training research and makes recommendations for future research processes and priorities that could better inform policy makers, practitioners, job seekers and employers. The report reviews workforce and related research funded by several federal agencies, including the US Departments of Labor, Education, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development, the National Science Foundation and other federal entities, as well as research undertaken by regional, state and local workforce agencies and philanthrophic organizations.

American Workers Assess an Economic Disaster

September 1, 2010

Nearly three years into a devastating economic recession, American workers are deeply pessimistic about prospects for economic recovery. The majority believe that the nationas economy has undergone a fundamental and lasting change, according to American Workers Assess an Economic Disaster, a new nationwide Work Trends survey from the Heldrich Center.Some of the key findings of the national survey are:Nearly three in four (73%) Americans have been directly affected by a recession that is unprecedented in its length and severity. Nearly two in three of those surveyed expect the United States to still be in a recession next year; another 18% fear a depression is coming. More than half (56%) think the U.S. economy has undergone a fundamental and lasting change as opposed to a temporary downturn (43%). Fully 41% anticipate that the United States will be experiencing similar economic conditions a year from now while another quarter (27%) actually believes the economy will get worse before it gets better. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (86%) who are still working express at least some concern about their job security; half of them report being very concerned.

No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment

May 4, 2010

Despite positive signs of economic growth and a rising stock market, millions of unemployed Americans see no end to the Great Recession that devastated their finances and threw their lives into turmoil. No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment, a nationwide Work Trends survey of more than 900 workers who have been jobless since August 2009, documents their continuing struggle to find jobs and the sacrifices they have endured in a punishing economy. The report is based on a six-month follow-up survey with the national scientific sample of unemployed Americans reported in the Heldrich Centeras Anguish of Unemployment report released in September 2009. Seventy-six percent of those interviewed in August 2009 were re-interviewed by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, California between March 10-23, 2010.

The Labor Market, Then and Now: Changing Realities in the 21st Century

February 11, 2010

Skyrocketing unemployment is only one of a number of profound changes transforming the U.S. labor market, workforce, and education system in the first decade of the 21st Century. The new realities affecting jobs, careers, and retirement are transforming Americans' attitudes toward work. This research brief, capturing the changing perceptions of workers between 1999 and 2009, was prepared by Carl Van Horn and Nicole Corre of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, a research and policy center at Rutgers University. The brief summarizes workforce mega-trends by drawing upon the most authoritative sources available and from the Heldrich Center's Work Trends series of two-dozen nationwide worker surveys that began in 1998. (The complete set of Work Trends surveys is available at

Leveraging State Economic Development Resources to Create Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities

October 1, 2009

A 2009 research brief produced for the NTAR Leadership Center, a consortium led by the John H. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Founded in 2007 under a grant/contract with the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, the NTAR Leadership Center's mission is to build capacity and leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to enable change across workforce development and disability-specific systems that will increase employment and economic self-sufficiency for adults with disabilities. This brief examines existing state, regional, and local economic development resource tools and discusses ways in which states and localities can leverage traditional loan and financing programs that enhance job creation, provide access to local employment opportunities, or help support employment for residents, including those with disabilities.

The Anguish of Unemployment

September 3, 2009

A comprehensive national survey conducted among 1,200 Americans nationwide (August 2009) who have been unemployed and looking for a job in the past 12 months, including 894 who are still jobless. It portrays a shaken, traumatized people coping with serious financial and psychological effects from an economic downturn of epic proportion. The survey, conducted and released by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, a research and policy center at Rutgers University, is one of the first and most comprehensive national scientific samples of unemployed Americans during the present recession. It provides an in-depth portrait of the social and economic experiences of unemployed Americans, drawing on data and direct quotes from respondents. The study was fielded by Knowledge Networks, which contacted a nationally representative sample of the recently unemployed between August 6 and 12, 2009. The survey shows that the great recession of 2007-2009 may have long-lasting financial and psychological effects on millions of people, and therefore on the nation's social fabric. The Anguish of Unemployment is the 21st Work Trends survey, a series launched in 1998 to better understand the public's attitudes about work, employers, and the government.

Healthy at Work? Unequal Access to Employer Wellness Programs

May 6, 2009

Reports findings from a March 2009 survey of American workers' views and opinions on employer-provided wellness programs.

Anxious with Reason: The Future of the American Worker

October 20, 2008

Presentation by Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin at the October 2008 meeting, "Anxious with Reason: The Future of the American Worker," sponsored by the New America Foundation's Next Social Contract Initiative and Workforce and Family Program.

Older and Out of Work: Employer, Government and Nonprofit Assistance

October 1, 2008

This Issue Brief, prepared by the Heldrich Center research staff, examines employer, federal, state, and community-based strategies designed to help unemployed older workers obtain new skills and return to work.

Older and Out of Work: Trends in Older Worker Displacement

September 17, 2008

This brief examines the issue of unemployed older workers. It examines the scope and impact of unemployment on older Americans. It also looks at individuals who must work to support themselves and their families and to maintain healthcare coverage before becoming eligible for Medicare. The brief was published by the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College in September 2008.

The Anxious American Worker: Work Trends Survey

August 27, 2008

Reports findings from a 2008 Work Trends survey of 1,000 Americans, which reveals that many American workers fear that their jobs will move to another country, feel undervalued and underpaid, and worry that they may never be able to retire. The survey results also paint a troubling picture of economic and job insecurity, framed by worry and uncertainty over what the future holds.

Energy Security, Innovation, and Sustainability Initiative: Brief Background on Workforce Challenges

October 2, 2007

In September 2007, Carl Van Horn addressed the first national forum of the Energy Security, Innovation, and Sustainability Initiative of the Council on Competitiveness. He discussed key workforce challenges facing the U.S. energy sector, both in terms of traditional utilities as well as the task of preparing workers for potential jobs in renewable and alternative energy.