The World of Workforce Development: A New Guide

The world of workforce development is a complicated place.  As a consultant, I work for many workforce development organizations, and, as a citizen, I even sit on my own local Workforce Investment Board.  But, even with this background, I have trouble keeping up with the latest trends and innovations in this diverse and complex policy world.   That’s why I’m very pleased to see the recent publication of Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century.  This book, a joint product of the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City and Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, is an excellent primer on what’s happening in the world of workforce development.   The good news is that the book is available for free download; the bad news is that it’s quite a hefty volume—coming in at 31 chapters and more than 650 pages.    This large volume is required for a book that covers a wide swath of issues, ranging from reducing long-term unemployment to the role of employers in training programs to specialized programs for women, baby boomers, and others to the use of data to improve decision making.    While the whole volume includes useful insights, you can also opt for a la carte reading–focusing on topics or chapters most relevant to your own work.  In either case, you’ll find this volume to be a useful introduction to the current state of the art in workforce development.

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