Current workforce training programs in the United States, especially for those displaced by automation or globalization, have shown to result in only modest gains in employment and wage increases. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at federal employment and job training programs and found that “in FY2009, nine federal agencies spent approximately $18 billion to administer 47 programs,” while also noting that “little is known about the effectiveness of most programs.” Given this mixed record of federal workforce development programs, it is time for an overhaul to achieve better results. In the process, policymakers should give workers fresh options, including approaches that educate and train individuals where America has its greatest potential economic strength — its entrepreneurs. State and federal policymakers should:
- Prioritize entrepreneurial skill-building, access to networks, and new business creation as key components of workforce training programs.
- Significantly expand the number of entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) that receive workforce training funding.
- Empower the 3,000 One-Stop centers to be user-friendly outlets for information about entrepreneurship and to provide support for more Americans wishing to start their own businesses.
- Include entrepreneurship and applicable information and tools in workforce training programs to help tens of thousands of young Americans start their own businesses.