“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.” -Marx, Engels The 20th century offered ordinary people the unique opportunity to dream beyond the traditional confines of family and community. These new opportunities were driven by improved job prospects, which over time produced a middle class in the United States and other industrialized nations. This transformation involved workers transitioning from crafts-based occupations, to jobs undertaking routine tasks in a factory.
In The Good Jobs Strategy Zeynep Ton explores the question of what makes a company successful. Contrary to popular belief, she argues, a company can adopt a low cost strategy that promotes investments in employees. The rule of thumb for many companies has been to drive down wages and operation costs, creating a vicious cycle of disinvestment in search of higher profits. What if the focus shifted from lower costs to smarter investments: creating products that people want to buy, jobs that people want to keep, and eventually shifting the norm for companies worldwide to include livable wages, good benefits and a healthy work environment?
In her response to Paul Krugman’s op-ed “Jobs and Skills and Zombies”, Youth Advisory Board member Kim Ouillette notes that while there is not a national skills shortage that can explain high unemployment in the US, there are some more localized, industry-specific skills gaps that can be addressed through structured training programs. However, she argues, these technical fixes should not preclude other fiscal and political changes that are more likely to get at the root of national unemployment and give more Americans access to decent work.
In this report, The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) presents a conceptual foundation for furthering work based learning (WBL) through a review of the three main WBL models: internships, youth apprenticeships, and school-based enterprises.