Keeping America in Business: Advancing Workers, Businesses and Economic Growth

Keeping America in Business: Advancing Workers, Businesses and Economic Growth

A new report prepared for American Assembly, an affiliate of Columbia University founded in 1950 by President Eisenhower "to illuminate issues of public policy," argues that the dramatic increase in the size and skill of America's labor force over the last twenty years is coming to an end, and that fact, combined with increased global competition and rapid technological change, could result in severe consequences for the American economy. The report, Keeping America in Business: Advancing Workers, Businesses and Economic Growth (19 pages, PDF), identifies a number of troubling trends — slowing labor force growth, stagnating growth in the number of four- and two-year college graduates, no growth in the number of native-born workers in their prime working years — and then lays out a strategy, which the Assembly calls a "workforce intermediary" approach, to address these trends and match the employment needs of businesses with the skills and interests of low-skilled workers. The report concludes with a series of five recommendations: raising awareness of the problem, developing an effective workforce intermediary policy, promoting smarter financing, building organizational capacity, and building a constituency for action.