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Required reading

From Hidden Costs to High Returns: Unlocking the Potential of the Lower-Wage Workforce
National Network of Sector Partners
August 2010

American companies tend to view their low-Skill, low-wage workers as a disposable resource — necessary but transient, plentiful enough to hire and lose and hire again as needed. Like many forms of waste, this approach to human capital has the advantage of simplicity, but it’s loaded with Hidden Costs. Chief among these is the constant expense of recruiting and training new employees. But there are other costs, too, like the stunting of employees’ loyalty, ambition, and attention to quality. A culture of transiency, where paychecks don’t pay the bills and opportunities for advancement are few or nil, is one sure way to wipe out any incentive to perform above average, to push for excellence, to get the details right.

A growing number of companies, large and small, are investing in a different approach. These companies view the lower-skill workforce as a durable asset: a means of continually improving quality and a potential talent pool for higher-level positions.... Continue reading

Tuning In to Local Labor Markets: Findings From the Sectoral Employment Impact Study 
by Sheila Maguire, Joshua Freely, Carol Clymer, Maureen Conway and Deena Schwartz
Public/Private Ventures
July 2010

For American workers, having a high school or general equivalency diploma (GED) — which once represented a means of entrance to the middle class — is no longer adequate for finding steady Employment. In fact, three quarters of low-wage workers have these qualifications but lack the relevant occupational skills and connections to employers needed to launch a career. At the same time, in some regions of the country there are persistent skills gaps clustered in particular industries, such as manufacturing and healthcare. Many of these jobs are expected to grow and require specific technical skills that can be gained only through focused training that is closely linked to the needs of local businesses.

Over the past two decades, an innovative approach to workforce development known as sectoral employment has emerged, resulting in the creation of industry-specific training programs that prepare unemployed and underskilled workers for skilled positions and connect them with employers seeking to fill such vacancies.... Continue reading

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Required reading


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