About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unemployment, training, and education

I watched an episode of Moyers & Company yesterday in which the Conservative Expert divided the US into three types of people, those with a university education who were successful, those that were poor and dependent upon the "welfare state", and the "middle class" with a high school diploma who were loosing ground in our economy. He repeated the often heard call to education in Science and Technology as we had openings in the US for these jobs that companies could not fill.

Looking at data from the Department of Labor, however, from 1974-2010, those with an associate's degree and "some college education" came out better in some demographics when it came to number of times they were unemployed. Specifically, Hispanics and white males had less unemployment spells with an associate's degree than with a college education. In fact, according to Allegretto & Lynch (2010), the labor force with only or without a high school diploma has shrunk since 1983* and the percent of the long-term unemployed who fit in this category is less than in the most recent recession. In fact, unemployment rates increased for those with some college or at least a bachelor's degree.

In addition to education that does not match the conservative profile, is the disregard for another major change in the characteristics in the long-term unemployed profile: age. While unemployment is high for the 16-24 year old age group, according to Allegretto and Lynch, this age group is able to find a job faster than those over 45 yrs old. In my mind, there can only be one explanation for this: salary.

With these statistics about unemployment, education, and age, therefore, we must reconsider our policies about training, education, and the unemployment rate. Namely, training for a specific job will not make employment decrease. It is no longer enough to require someone to get a college education or to educate our workforce. Rather, there needs to be some changes to the way corporations hire and train their workforce. With an integrated approach with educational institutions combining both theoretical with practical training/education, we should be able to have a workforce that can be continually trained/updated, but also have the creativity upon which the US successfully expanded into the information economy.

Interestingly enough, the US stopped collecting data on workplace training in 1995. This means very little is known in terms of what training or knowledge assessment companies do today. To understand, however, how our children should be educated to be successful in the knowledge economy, it is important to understand the past and current role of education and training in the US economy.

Tomorrow: The history of training in US companies
Friday: Creating the felt for the velcro to stick

*Allegretto and Lynch looked at long-term unemployment during the last four recessions.

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