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FOREWORD xi burdens in the government sector. Thus, at a time when wage stagnation and economic insecurity have become persistent problems for Americans, the work of Joan Fitzgerald and others who examine such programs is particularly welcome. Given the importance ofthis subject, The Century Foundation has been supporting major examinations of this problem for more than a decade, resulting in books such as Created Unequal by James Galbraith; Top Heavy by Edward Wolff; Securing Prosperity by Paul Osterman; Growing Prosperity by Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison; The New Ruthless Economy by Simon Head; No One Left Behind, a report of our task force on retraining America's workforce; Joan Lombardi's Time to Care, as well as ongoing work, such as Edward Wolffs forthcoming book on skill, work, and inequality, Amy Dean's new look at unions, and Timothy Smeeding's examination of the costs and consequences of economic inequality in America. By expl01ing career ladders in a number ofimportant industries-health care, child care, education, manufacturing, and biotechnology-Fitzgerald spans the U.S. labor market, from traditional manufacturing, through the rapidly growing human services sectors, into the rarified realm ofhigh technology . In each case, she is intent on finding how workers without college education can be given more opportunity to learn and advance within the sectors in which they are employed. Fitzgerald also enhances our understanding by making more concrete the dilemma that faces the unskilled or semiskilled worker in today's demanding and unforgiving labor market. It is not clear how much of this challenge can be met through improving career ladders. A cold reality of our new global economy is that there is little room for sentiment and charity. Ifit is profitable to train and promote workers from within, job ladders have a better chance to succeed than if it is not. The market will certainly let us know the answer. Even in the public sector, voter pressure for lower taxes makes it difficult to both deliver services and deliver job skills training in the same organization unless it is an efficient combination. For those of us who believe in the power and the responsibility of the public sector to promote opportunity and mobility, Joan Fitzgerald has produced a stimulating book that makes clear the challenges we face in the evolving labor markets of the twenty-first century. She points out that investment in worker-advancement systems is much more effective if it is part of a larger strategy to provide reasonable compensation and advancement opportunities for workers. Surely these goals are among the middleclass values that all American politicians claim to embrace. But there has been little systematic effort to build on the best examples of such systems. xii FOREWORD The need, as she points out, is not evidence that workers can be made more productive and achieve increased earning power. That much is clear. The need rather is to overcome the critical shortage of public and private policies intended to provide such opportunities for advancement. This shortfall is alarming, given not only the reality of millions of so-called working poor but also because the United States has always been thought of as the leader in upward mobility. Our experience over the past generation, however, has shaken our confidence in that vision ofopportunity. Wages are not growing fast enough, except for the very well off, and even college is an increasingly difficult goal for the children of working-class families. In other words, the topic of this book is important in ways that go well beyond the small world ofexperts on worker training. It touches on a central question facing us today: how can we restore the ideal of rising productivity and widespread upward mobility? For her contribution to answering this important question, I thank Joan Fitzgerald on behalf of the Trustees of The Century Foundation. RICHARD C. LEONE, PRESIDENT The Century Foundation April zoos Acknowledgments In the three years it has taken to complete this book I have been supported by many people and organizations. Funding for the research was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Century Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. I thank Debra Schwartz, Greg Anrig, and Bob Giloth, the respective program officers, and Century Foundation president Richard Leone for their support for the project. In the process of determining which sectors to include and understanding how career ladders work, I interviewed at least one hundred people, many who are named in the book. Several...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501727184
Related ISBN
9780801444135
MARC Record
OCLC
1080551301
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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