"A Reality Check: First Findings from the EQW National Employer
This essay presents the results of the initial analysis of data from the EQW National Employer Surveythe first survey to provide a baseline of information that documents the practices and expectations of employers in their search for a skilled and proficient workforce. The survey dispels or corroborates some commonly held beliefs about employer practices: employers are buying new equipment, upskilling jobs, and increasing investment in the training and education of their workers; employers seldom use measurements of school performancegrades, teacher recommendations, and school reputationsto choose among qualified applicants; and employers report that only four out of five employees are fully proficient in their current jobs.
"Rethinking the Skills Gap: Is It Craft or Character?
This essay discusses the source of the skills gap in the American economybased on employers' complaints about the work attitudes and behavioral skills of their employees, not problems with their academic skills. It discusses how the advent of high-performance work systems has changed what jobs now demand of workers by requiring a higher level of behavioral skills, as well as how schools can help to impart these skills.
"A Matter of Degrees: Workforce Changes and Higher Education"
As firms take advantage of the surplus of college-educated workers and abandon employer-sponsored training and as current labor market trends make it tougher to find and keep jobs, even with a college degree, this essay discusses the central role higher education has come to play in the preparation of a skilled workforce.
"Closing the Gap: Private and Public Job Training"
This essay recommends the recasting and refocusing of national surveys that attempt to measure the nation's investment in training in order to develop a clearer picture of when and why employers and their employees invest in work-related education and training.
"What Employers Want: Youth Labor Markets and School-to-Work
Based on focus groups with employers who do not participate in youth work-based learning programs and a telephone survey with those who do, this essay identifies the incentives that would encourage employers to participate in work-based learning in order to prepare youth to secure and succeed in full-time jobs.
"The Educational Payoff"
This essay presents arguments for educational investment by both individuals and society, stressing the returns to education that individuals receive in terms of personal opportunity and the beneficial effects of increased educational attainment on a nation's workforce.
"Look before You Leap"
This essay examines how states can work with enterprises to stimulate the demand for a highly skilled workforce. Using Illinois' Prairie State 2000 initiative as an example of how hurried policy-making results in ineffective programs, the essay describes how public agencies should instead facilitate a relationship among firms, schools, and workers.
"Youth Apprenticeships: Can They Work in America?"
In this essay, Susan Tifft seeks to broaden consideration of this important policy initiative by asking about the necessity of incentives for business to invest in youth apprenticeship programs.
"The New Crafts"
John Gapper uses EQW Scholar Stephen Barley's work to explain how the increasing dominance of technical occupations is changing the nature of work.
"The EQW Triangle"
This essay presents the Center's argument that responsibility for the declining quality of the workforce is widely distributedamong managers who do not know how to develop their employees, among schools that graduate too many unprepared workers, and among students and families who have become uncertain educational shoppers, confused about the skills needed in tomorrow's workplace.