Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that proposes a novel approach to address the deficiencies and inequities in the United States’ workforce training system.
In “A Design for Workforce Equity,” Livia Lam, senior fellow and director of Workforce Development at CAP, explains that the way U.S. businesses currently approach workforce training is deficient because there is often a gap—not necessarily of skills, but of job quality. Additionally, the current workforce system does little to account for the structural barriers that individuals face when seeking a good job, such as bias in employment due to factors such as systemic racism and its effect on rising wealth inequality.
Lam proposes a new workforce mobility system that addresses inequality and moves the nation toward workforce equity. She envisions creating a Workforce Equity Trust Fund (WETF) that will enshrine fundamental workforce protections into law. The major tenet of the new WETF makes job quality—not upskilling for upskilling’s sake—the driving force in anticipating the inevitable future of work. The WETF would guarantee workers looking for a new job, pathways to promotions, or a career change, as well as individuals in between or juggling multiple jobs, high-quality skills training and employment services. By redesigning for workforce equity, a new system would prioritize the future financial stability and economic security of every worker. Lam envisions that the WETF would be funded by employers of a certain size and governed by a multistakeholder partnership comprising business, labor, and the public.
“The combined forces of automation, globalization, and climate change have dramatically shifted the world of work over the past half-century. To keep up with these changes and to account for the structural reasons why every worker does not have an equal shot at a well-paying job, the United States needs to change how the workforce system engages the labor market,” says Lam. “What is needed is a workforce system that ensures equitable employment outcomes, not just job training for the sake of job training. A new Workforce Equity Trust Fund would put the future financial stability and economic security of all workers front and center by not only connecting them to quality training and good jobs but also creating an ecosystem set up to achieve workforce equity.”
For more information on this topic or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcisucj or 202-495-3682.