RELEASE: New CAP Issue Brief Recommends How Federal Laws Can Create Pathways From Education and Training to Good Jobs

Washington, D.C. — A new issue brief released today by the Center for American Progress gives recommendations for how to build a system of connected federal education and training laws and regulations based on job quality. Creating this consistency will help to shape the workforce in ways that provide good jobs for all and help to eliminate inequality.

The issue brief suggests that federal laws take such a unified approach to build pathways to better jobs. This can be done by integrating job quality features into federal education and workforce laws. The brief also recommends updating these laws to better coordinate policy design and avoid developing job quality policies in silos. These recommendations are informed by conversations with local leaders of education and training programs across the country so that they can better respond to the real-time needs of students and workers.

Key recommendations detailing specific actions the U.S. Congress can take to emphasize job quality across federal education and workforce development laws include:

  • Create a common set of rules and practices around defining quality. Specifically, it should determine how local programs are managed for quality and how local governments hold programs accountable for meeting quality standards within education and workforce laws.
  • Align the reauthorization schedule with federal education and workforce development laws without creating legislative gridlock. Putting these laws on the same timeline for revision without creating more opportunities for gridlock would support practitioners, policy experts, advocates, and lawmakers in considering changes that can be made to create consistency across these laws.
  • Create parameters for job quality that are included in federal education and workforce development laws. This would, in turn, help to convey the importance of job quality to agencies and practitioners across the education and workforce development ecosystem as they carry out these programs.
  • Align key legislative elements of federal education and workforce development laws with good jobs. Congress must establish what events commonly qualify for public funding, which entities would be eligible to apply for these resources, and who can participate in program services.
  • Congress should require states to implement federal education and workforce development laws collaboratively across the education and workforce training systems. To establish a governing framework that puts job quality-related issues at the center of decision-making, there must be three-part cooperation and consultation between representatives of business, industry, and K-12 and higher education.

“Schools, colleges, and workforce development systems must work together to prepare all students for good jobs in the future workforce. Coordinating federal laws in these areas is a first step toward that goal,” said Laura Jimenez, director for K-12 Strategic Advantage at CAP and co-author of the issue brief.

“There is clearly a need for the adoption of more common language across legislation, enabling the education and workforce ecosystem to break down silos and helping to achieve educational equity and job quality that students and workers deserve,” said Livia Lam, senior fellow and the director of Workforce Development at CAP, and co-author of the brief.

Read the report: “Good Jobs for All: How Federal Laws Can Create Pathways From Education and Training to Good Jobs” by Laura Jimenez and Livia Lam

Related sources:

A Multiple Measures Approach to Workforce Equity” by Livia Lam
Preparing American Students for the Workforce of the Future” by Laura Jimenez
A Design for Workforce Equity” by Livia Lam
Are High School Diplomas Really a Ticket to College and Work?” by Laura Jimenez and Scott Sargrad

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at .