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Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans: Bipartisan Policies to Increase Work, Wages, and Skills

February 4, 2019

Many workers today find themselves lacking the skills and training necessary to thrive in the modern economy. Most low- and middle-income workers have not seen meaningful wage increases in many years. Millions of men and women are missing from the workforce altogether. These challenges stem from profound shifts in the American economy and necessitate a dedicated policy response.Over the course of the past year, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are presented here.

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color through Employment and Training

February 1, 2015

Young men of color have long experienced lower earnings and higher unemployment compared to young white men. Many factors have contributed to these negative outcomes: persistent discrimination, hiring practices of employers, geographic and social isolation, substandard secondary education, lack of career and postsecondary educational guidance, inadequate career and technical education, and higher incarceration rates. This paper focuses on promising strategies for improving the labor market outcomes of low-income young men of color. It outlines an employment-focused approach to improving economic opportunities and outcomes for these young men, highlighting potential policy, system and institutional reforms as well as program investments.

Are Employability Skills Learned in U.S. Youth Education and Training Programs?

June 4, 2013

Skills are a central source of high productivity and economic well-being. But what do we mean by productive skills? Both with regard to measurement and policy, the primary focus in the U.S. has been on academic skills, as measured by tests of reading, writing and math abilities and by educational attainment, including degrees completed. However, a new consensus is emerging that an array of non-academic skills and occupational skills may be at least as important for labor market success. After reviewing the evidence on respective roles of various types of skills required by employers, this paper examines the skill-enhancing effects of several youth programs and demonstrations, with an emphasis on how well these efforts raise non-academic skills directly through purposeful activities or indirectly as a result of other employment-enhancing services.

Training Tomorrow's Workforce: Community College and Apprenticeship as Collaborative Routes to Rewarding Careers

December 15, 2009

Explores the potential for state apprenticeship programs to collaborate with community colleges, integrating education into skills development and minorities into the workforce. Recommendations include raising employer demand and subsidizing tuition.

A Case Study in Collaboration: How Community Resource Exchange and the Staten Island Foundation Partnered to Support Nonprofits Under Pressure

December 10, 2009

Describes how community foundations can bring together nonprofit leaders to share concerns, strategies, and expertise on programs and human resource and financial management, and promote collaboration and shared resources. Explores elements of success.