Holzer, Bernstein: A good jobs agenda.

By Rachel Unruh, April 24, 2014

Yesterday in The Hill, economists Harry Holzer (NSC Board, Georgetown University) and Jared Bernstein (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) challenged policymakers to pursue an agenda to create more good jobs in manufacturing and throughout the economy.

At the top of their “good jobs agenda” Holzer and Bernstein call for policies that will “ensure that employers who would create good jobs here can find the workers with the skill sets they need.” They note the need to invest in demand-driven training developed in partnership with industry as opposed to “standardized, one-size-fits-all training.” While these models exist, the authors note they are currently “at too small a scale too really make a difference” and that “given their relatively low cost, scaling them up would deliver a big bang-for-the-buck.” 

Holzer and Bernstein also call for more sensible immigration policy with attention to attracting highly educated foreign nationals as well as “more education and training – starting with effective adult basic education and then continuing through various career pathways” for less-skilled immigrants. (Check out NSC’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Proposal for a Skills Strategy that Supports Economic Growth and Opportunity for ways to dramatically increase the amount and effectiveness of resources available for adult basic education and career pathways for those working toward citizenship as well as current citizens.)

In addition to human capital policy, Holzer and Bernstein call for addressing the economic factors that encourage good job creation overseas rather than in the U.S., significant new investments in infrastructure, and more sensible and better-enforced domestic labor standards.