Workforce training programs in the United States, especially for those employees 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 and a rapidly changing economy, workforce training should be reimagined around each individual’s desire for a career – not around the temporary needs of a corporation. That means workforce training should emphasize the acquisition of a mix of industry credentials and entrepreneurial skills so that Americans are positioned for long-term success, whether as employees, the self-employed, or business owners. State and federal policymakers should:
- Prioritize entrepreneurial skill-building, real-world experiences, access to networks, and new business creation as key components of workforce training programs.
- Significantly expand the number of entrepreneur support organizations that receive workforce training funding.
- Empower the 3,000 OneStop 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 Americansstart their own businesses.