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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

PREPARING FOR THE WORKPLACE

CHARTING A COURSE FOR FEDERAL POSTSECONDARY TRAINING POLICY

Janet S. Hansen, Editor

Committee on Postsecondary Education and Training for the Workplace Richard P. Nathan, Chair

Commission on the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1994

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×


NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This project was supported by the U.S. Department of Education.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Preparing for the workplace : charting a course for federal postsecondary training policy / Janet S. Hansen, editor ; Committee on Postsecondary Education and Training for the Workplace ; Commission on the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.

p. cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-04935-0

1. Career education—Government policy—United States. 2. Postsecondary education—United States. 3. Federal aid to higher education—United States. 4. Labor supply—Effect of education on. I. Hansen, Janet S. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Postsecondary Education and Training for the Workplace. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. IV. Title : Federal postsecondary training policy.

LC1037.5.P72 1993

378′.013—dc20 93-37934

CIP

Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

COMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR THE WORKPLACE

RICHARD NATHAN (Chair),

Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York, Albany

SUE BERRYMAN,

World Bank, Washington, D.C.

BERNARD CHARLES,

The McKenzie Group, Washington, D.C.

ROBERT C. FORNEY,

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (ret.), Unionville, Pennsylvania

RICHARD B. FREEMAN,

Department of Economics, Harvard University, and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts

EVELYN GANZGLASS,

National Governors' Association, Washington, D.C.

W. NORTON GRUBB,

School of Education, University of California, Berkeley

JUDITH M. GUERON,

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, New York

G. PHILLIPS HANNA,

U.S. Office of Management and Budget (ret.), Washington, D.C.

MARY ALLEN JOLLEY,

Office of Economic and Community Affairs, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

ROBERT I. LERMAN,

Department of Economics, American University, Washington, D.C.

DAVID LONGANECKER,*

Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Denver

MICHAEL MCPHERSON,

Department of Economics, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

LARRY L. ORR,

Abt Associates, Bethesda, Maryland

FRANKLIN D. RAINES,

Federal National Mortgage Association, Washington, D.C.

JOAN L. WILLS,

Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, D.C.

JANET S. HANSEN, Study Director

LAUREL MCFARLAND, Research Associate

BARRY SUGARMAN, Research Associate

CINDY S. PRINCE, Project Assistant

*  

Resigned from the committee in May 1993.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

Preface

As of March 1991, 79 percent of U.S. men and women 25 years and older had not attended 4 or more years of college. How are these people prepared for work? This is a big question and a major concern in the country. The role of the federal government in the field of work force preparation is the subject of this report. At various times during the 2-1/2 years that our committee worked on this study, we talked about calling our report "The Other 79 Percent" as a way to dramatize the challenge of our inquiry.

Increasingly, opinion in the country has coalesced around the proposition that a high-skills, high-productivity work force is the key to the nation's ability to compete in an ever more interconnected global economy. Yet, as our report says right in the first sentence, "postsecondary training for the workplace is a troubled enterprise in the United States."

The National Research Council was asked by the U.S. Department of Education to establish our committee to address the question of what the federal government's role in postsecondary training ought to be. We had two first-order definitional questions to answer in our work: What do we mean by postsecondary training? What is the present federal role in this enterprise?

In answer to the first question, we defined our universe as including organized activities supplied by schools, employers, or other agencies and organizations that provide training, apprenticeship, and skills development for the workplace focused on individuals who have a high school diploma or who are older than the average high school student. This universe in

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
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cludes much of the work of community and technical colleges, proprietary schools, area vocational and adult schools, community-based organizations, apprenticeship programs, employer-sponsored training programs, and military training programs. We identified four types of training that individuals need at the post-high-school level: qualifying training to prepare for initial entry to the work force, skills improvement training for people on the job, retraining when economic changes make jobs obsolete, and second-chance training for those with low levels of education and skills that hamper their employability.

It is worth noting that arguably the single most dramatic development in all of American education in the last 30 years has been the growth of community colleges. Enrollment has grown nearly sevenfold since the early 1960s: it is now close to 5 million people in 1,000 community colleges in which occupational programs are a major component.

Our second question about the federal role in postsecondary preparation for the workplace is much more important than at first blush might seem to be the case. In a word, the federal role is small. Expenditures through federal postsecondary training programs amount to about $20 billion annually, but this is only a small fraction of what state and local governments, employers, and individuals spent on training activities. Postsecondary activities are also highly fragmented within the federal establishment. The largest programs (excluding those for military personnel) are found in the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, but several other cabinet departments are also involved.

Because the federal government shares responsibility for work force training with so many other actors, issues of federalism and governance were central to our analysis. State governments have the lead role among governments in postsecondary training. Local governments, private profit-making (proprietary) schools, nonprofit community-based groups, and private firms are also major actors. The biggest federal activity in support of postsecondary training comes not through direct aid to institutional providers, but through grants and loans to students. Many of these students attend proprietary schools, where new controversies have arisen about their practices.

As our deliberations proceeded, we constantly encountered—at every level of government—a lack of systematic thinking and action to provide individuals—and this is what counts—with ways to find and obtain the best preparation to be productive workers. Overcoming fragmentation and incoherence and improving the quality of postsecondary training are even bigger needs than making individual federal training programs work better, though it is obviously important to do the latter as well. Our final chapter discusses six functions we believe the federal government should undertake to help move the nation towards a coherent and high-quality postsecondary

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

training system that meets the needs of both workers and employers for all the training that individuals will need over the course of their working lives.

Much of our attention was devoted to the key role of states in providing postsecondary training and to identifying ways the national government could stimulate and facilitate strong action at the state level to integrate and strengthen programs for workplace preparation. In our view, the federal government should act as a catalyst and agent of change on a basis that draws on and reinforces the best practices of the leading states that have taken a systemic approach to work force development.

In the usual way in a preface, we pay tribute to the people who helped us do our job. Most important of all, Janet S. Hansen served ably, patiently, and energetically as the study director for our committee. She moved over (or up) from being a member of the group at the outset of our work to the position of study director in December 1991. We thank her for agreeing to do this. Janet was a tiger in our meetings, pressing us all the time to be rigorous and to tell her (best of all in writing) exactly what we meant. We tried very hard to meet her standards.

The U.S. Department of Education sponsored this project. Many officials of the department and other federal agencies assisted us and our staff throughout our endeavors, and we thank them. We are especially grateful to our project monitor, David Goodwin, and to Maureen McLaughlin of the Department of Education and to Barry White and Cynthia Brown of the Office of Management and Budget. They met numerous times with the committee and provided a valuable perspective on the questions facing federal policy makers responsible for designing and implementing postsecondary training programs. We also want to acknowledge the contributions of the late Fred Fischer of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, who was instrumental in identifying the need for this study.

At the National Research Council, Alexandra K. Wigdor, director of the Division of Education, Labor, and Human Performance, provided critical guidance on the study process. Daniel Levine served ably in helping to organize our committee. Research associate Laurel McFarland (on leave from the Brookings Institution) assisted in getting the study launched and in framing initial avenues for the committee to investigate; she also drafted several helpful background papers. Upon her return to Brookings, Barry Sugarman took up responsibility for many of the fact-finding and data-gathering tasks so important to a committee like ours. At a crucial period late in the study, Gerald Hauser, serving as an intern, picked up on the substance of the study amazingly quickly and was enormously helpful in filling in holes in the draft report. Throughout the study, Cindy Prince, our project assistant, attended to the myriad administrative needs of the study and to the care and feeding of the staff and committee members with skill

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

and good humor. She and Elaine McGarraugh also had the important responsibility of ensuring the accuracy of the manuscript as it wound its way through the editorial process. Jeffrey Porro, editor, helped improve the presentation of the committee's ideas. Eugenia Grohman supervised the editing of the manuscript and shepherded it through publication. We thank them all.

The committee also appreciates the assistance we received from a group of scholars literally from around the world who prepared background papers to inform our deliberations. We are grateful for the ideas offered by Larry Bailis, Sara Connolly, Robert Gregory, Arthur Hauptman, Julia Lane, Sarah Liebschutz, Lisa Lynch, Thomas Rauberger, James Rosenbaum, David Stern, and Margaret Vickers. In particular, we note the contribution made to our discussions by Richard Elmore, whose paper on improving the quality of postsecondary training became the core of Chapter 6.

As the chair, I get a final word on the committee itself, the way it congealed, and how we worked together to find our way in a field that is broad-gauged and in many ways more institutional and policy-laden than the usual territory of a National Research Council committee. As is often the case, there were moments of excitement (to put it politely) as we compared notes and rubbed ideas together, first to learn, then to agree on findings, and finally to work out how we view the federal role in postsecondary training for the workplace. One member of the group said at the final meeting that he was happy to have us conclude our deliberations and hoped never again to see us all at the same time. He was kidding, of course, but the point is that any such group has to work hard at coming together. I thank my colleagues for their help and support in doing this. I am proud of the work we did and hope they are, too.

Richard P. Nathan, Chair

Committee on Postsecondary

Education and Training

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
×

PREPARING FOR THE WORKPLACE

CHARTING A COURSE FOR FEDERAL POSTSECONDARY TRAINING POLICY

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2123.
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Preparing for the Workplace: Charting A Course for Federal Postsecondary Training Policy Get This Book
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Job training has taken a central place among strategies to boost U.S. competitiveness in the world and ensure a high standard of living. Decision making in this area has a major impact on American workers who do not earn 4-year college degrees—fully three-quarters of the workforce.

This timely volume reviews the state of postsecondary training for work in the United States; it addresses controversies about federal job policies and programs and outlines a national approach to improved quality and accessibility in workplace preparation.

The committee focuses on the various types of training individuals need during their working lives. Leading experts explore the uneven nature of postsecondary training in the United States and contrast our programs with more comprehensive systems found in other major industrial countries.

The authors propose what the federal government can—and cannot—do in improving postsecondary training, exploring appropriate roles and responsibilites for federal, state, and private interests. The volume highlights opportunities for improvement in the development of skills standards, student financial aid, worker retraining, second-change education, and the provision of better information to program managers, public officials, and trainees.

With a wealth of insightful commentary and examples, this readable volume will be valuable to federal and state policymakers, leaders in the field of training, educators, employers, labor unions, and interested individuals.

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