Meet The Low Wage Workforce
“Fifty-three million Americans – 44% of all workers aged 18-64 – have low-wage jobs, according to “Meet The Low Wage Workforce,” a new report from the Brookings Institute. These workers earn median hourly wages of $10.22 and median annual earnings of $17,950. The common thread in the report’s recommendations are “policies and programs to support low-wage workers advance to higher wage and greater financial stability should address both sides of the labor market: the assets and circumstances of workers and the number and nature of available jobs.”
Other articles in the November, 2019 edition:
This brief,by Jacob Hartog, Sarah Wissel, Annalisa Mastri, and Kelley Borradaile discusses 19 interventions identified by the Employment Strategies for Low-Income
Adults Evidence Review (ESER) that featured workreadiness services as their primary employment or
training strategy.2 This brief describes work-readiness
interventions and their impact on employment and
earnings. It also profiles six promising interventions
and their impacts in more detail.
To read this 2016 brief, click on this link: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/eser_ib_workreadiness_111116_b508.pdf
The Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER) is a systematic review of the literature on the impacts of employment and training programs and policies for low-income people. Sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families, ESER provides practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a transparent, systematic assessment of the quality of research evidence supporting approaches to improve the employment-related outcomes of low-income adults.
Jobs for the Future provides a link to the final implementation report, which “describes the effect of Accelerating Opportunity (AO) on education and employment outcomes for underprepared adult learners. Designed and led by Jobs for the Future and national partners, AO allowed adults with low basic skills to enroll in integrated career pathways at community and technical colleges.”
New Evidence on Integrated Career Pathways: Final Impact Report for Accelerating Opportunity, Theresa Anderson, Daniel Kuehn, Lauren Eyster, Burt S. Barnow, and Roberth Il Lerman, Urban Institute, 2017.
Workforce Credential Grant Program at Virginia’s Community Colleges
“Recognizing the importance of promoting a capable workforce to meet the needs of employers and build Virginia’s economy, state lawmakers created a new grant program in 2016 to make specific workforce training programs much more affordable for students.
The new grant program reduces the student cost of specific Workforce Credential training programs by two-thirds so that more people can access this type of training and the jobs that stem from it. Find a
LIST OF COURSES ELIGIBLE FOR CREDENTIAL GRANTS
Click on the Virginia Community College website here
According to 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earnings increase and unemployment decreases as educational attainment rises. Click here to enter the site.
Grouping workers by education level, the chart shows that those with more education have higher earnings and lower rates of unemployment than those with less education.
These data are from the BLS Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of households that collects information about demographic and labor force characteristics.
Middle Skilled Jobs and Low Skilled, Low Literate, Entry Level Workers in the U.S.
• Middle skilled jobs require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree (e.g., associate degree, postsecondary certificate, apprenticeship, etc.)
• Comprise about half of all U.S. jobs. Historically, these jobs were available to those with a high school diploma (sometimes less), but changes in production and increasingly sophisticated technology now require more education and preparation for this growing group of jobs than ever before.
Additional education and training beyond high school is now the norm for access to middle skills positions.
– The Future of the U.S. Workforce: Middle Skills Jobs and the Growing Importance of Postsecondary Education, Achieve, Inc., September 2012
The Skills Gap: Living wage work is available in all regions of Virginia, but not enough literate or trained workers are able to fill middle skilled job positions.
More than 175,000 middle skill job openings occurred in Virginia last year. Each job, on average, took 26 days to dill. That nearly month-long gap stripped businesses of more than 36 million hours of productivity; families of more than $1 billion in wages; and Virginia’s General Fund of an estimated $54 million in state income taxes.”
The Interest Gap: Too few people pursue these middle class careers because of outdated societal stigmas or they are unaware of them, how well they pay, the advancement opportunities they offer, or even how to secure the credentials necessary to pursue them.
The Affordability Gap: Financial aid is largely not available to Virginians pursuing short-term workforce training programs, despite evidence that they typically need it the most.
– Workforce Credentials: The Pathway to Virginia’s New Middle Class: Virginia’s Community Colleges, September 1, 2015
“There’s a hunger among young people for good, well-paying jobs that don’t require an expensive four-year degree,” said Sarah Steinberg, vice president for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “The Apprentice School is the gold standard of what a high-quality apprenticeship program can be.”- Read the article about a Newport News apprenticeship program @ A New Look at Apprenticeships as a Path to the Middle Class, Nelson D. Schwartz, July 13, 2015, from the New York Times
Apprenticeship Information in Virginia:
The Virginia Registered Apprenticeship is a training system that produces highly skilled workers to meet the demands of employers competing in a global economy, through a combination of on-the-job training and theoretical classroom instruction. It is a “win-win” approach to workforce development for more than 13,000 apprentices (employees) throughout the Commonwealth.
Registered Apprenticeship connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.
The Illinois WorkNet Center’s Job Skills Guide:
This site helps your adult students acquire the work skills employers want. Academic skills, technical skills, and workplace “soft” skills provide a solid base for getting into a career. Learn more about the skills and hear what employers have to say. The Job Skills Guide offers information on
- Academic skills: Mathematics, Reading, Science and Technology, Writing
- Technical skills and computer literacy
- Industry-wide technical skills
- Workplace Soft Skills
- Attendance and self-presentation
- Career advancement
- Independence and initiative
- Leadership and teamwork
- Positive attitude
- Problem solving
- Understanding the big picture
- Work ethic