PLEDGE NOW
Do Job Retraining Programs Work?

Job retraining programs have bipartisan support.  But do they work?  And is anyone keeping track?

Shannon Swift uses a feeler gauge to set the gap on the rollers of the preimpregnated web machine at Renegade Materials in Springboro, Ohio on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. Swift lost his job at a local GM plant, and Third Frontier money was used to retrain him for 6 months on his new job, which involves making lightweight composite fibers for the aerospace industry. (AP)

Shannon Swift uses a feeler gauge to set the gap on the rollers of the preimpregnated web machine at Renegade Materials in Springboro, Ohio on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. Swift lost his job at a local GM plant, and Third Frontier money was used to retrain him for 6 months on his new job, which involves making lightweight composite fibers for the aerospace industry. (AP)

Every time a wave of jobs is lost – and we’ve lost plenty lately – American leaders stand up and talk about retraining.  Don’t worry, retrain.  And Congress throws a bunch of money at retraining programs.  For health care jobs, green energy jobs.  Up and at ‘em, America.  Get going.  Retool.  Retrain.

Well, how’s all that retraining going?  Are we boning up on the right stuff?  Are we finding those jobs?  Is it working?  There’s a lot hanging on the answer.

This hour, On Point:  job retraining in a jobless time.  We’re spending a lot to do it.  Is it working?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, senior staff writer at the Wall Street Journal.

Carl Van Horn, professor of public policy and director of the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Rick Stine, formerly a senior engineer at Pitney Bowes, was laid off three years ago. He went through training at the WorkPlace — a federally funded program under the Workforce Investment Act.  Now he works as a quality engineer at Bead Industries, a small business equipment company.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “The Obama administration has been promoting the retraining of unemployed workers as a linchpin of its economic-recovery plan. The federal government spent about $18 billion on training and job-search programs, running 47 separate programs offering training, in the year ended September 2009, the most recent tally by the Government Accountability Office. And that doesn’t include some state and local programs that use federal funding to train workers.”

The Times Weekly “Sixteen one-year grants are being made to 15 national nonprofit organizations through the program’s general funds or funds set aside by statute to serve Native Americans or Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. The grants will support more than 35,000 positions. In addition, state and territorial grantees that previously received funding through this program will continue to support more than 10,000 positions.”

Slate “While the recession reduced incomes and increased unemployment across all socioeconomic groups, the poor have been hit harder than anyone else. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the bottom 20 percent of American families earned less in 2010 than they did in 2006, the year before the recession began. Every other income quintile is at least back at where they started, or even a little ahead. For the bottom quintile, this is just the most recent setback in a series of them: Their share of America’s economic pie has been shrinking for decades.”

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 31, 2016
This 2006 colorized scanning electron micrograph image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the O157:H7 strain of the E. coli bacteria. On Wednesday, May 26, 2016, U.S. military officials reported the first U.S. human case of bacteria resistant to an antibiotic used as a last resort drug. The 49-year-old woman has recovered from an infection of E. coli resistant to colistin. But officials fear that if the resistance spreads to other bacteria, the country may soon see germs impervious to all antibiotics. (Janice Carr/CDC via AP)

A new superbug resistant to every antibiotic has shown up in the U.S. We look at the threat, and our dwindling antibiotic options.

May 31, 2016
In this July 31, 2015, file photo, an orca or killer whale breaches in view of Mount Baker, some 60 miles distant, in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. ( (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The end of orcas at SeaWorld, McDonald’s using cage-free eggs — should animal lovers be optimistic about a new “humane economy”?

RECENT
SHOWS
May 30, 2016
Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir 'Eminent Hipsters.' He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen talks “eminent hipsters” and the cultural outliers that shaped his sound. He joins us.

 
May 30, 2016
Author and Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy. (Photo by Bob O'Connor / Courtesy The Author)

Strike a power pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy on the power of presence when you’re ready to act and win.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
In The Garden, Mother Nature Makes The Rules
Friday, May 27, 2016

Executive producer Karen Shiffman explains why she turns to her garden for food, friends and natrual comfort.

More »
Comment
 
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment