Policymakers are debating how to build back better from the COVID-19 recession, a conversation in which workforce development and training play a central role. But as Suresh Naidu and Aaron Sojourner argued in Employer Power and Employee Skills: Understanding Workforce Training Programs in the Context of Labor Market Power, training programs that fail to address underlying labor market power dynamics will only perpetuate existing inequalities. To design effective workforce training programs, we have to understand how they operate relative to (and how they might even affect) employers’ labor market power.
Naidu and Sojourner’s paper informed this scan of investments in workforce development written by Suzanne Kahn and Anna Smith. In “Employer Power and Employee Skills, Investment Scan: A Federal and Philanthropic Workforce“, Kahn and Smith examine where current investments are being made and how existing training and job placement programs measure up against Naidu and Sojourner’s recommendations. They find that both federal and philanthropic training programs must do more to center worker voice and emphasize job quality.