The Work of the Future and The Case for Creative Human Capital Policies for Low-Wage Workers

Awarded Scholars:
Paul Osterman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Date:
Jun 2019
Award Amount:

How skills and training can be improved to enhance the job prospects of low-wage workers remains an important issue. Conservatives have argued that job training is ineffective, whereas progressives have focused on raising earnings through changes in labor market standards—minimum and living wages and efforts to revitalize employment law by addressing issues such as mis-classification and outsourcing. Economist Paul Osterman will write a book that examines training programs for low-wage workers. He will discuss the efficacy of different types of programs for improving worker skills (community colleges, remedial training programs, apprenticeship programs and “new” models), identify best practices and examine how they might be diffused. In addition to summarizing the extant research evidence, Osterman will conduct new qualitative field work on best practices and their diffusion, analyze existing survey evidence, and conduct a nationally-representative survey of 2,000 workers. 


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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