“The Future of Work: What About Those Who DON’T Attend College?” by Tamar Jacoby

“The Future of Work: What About Those Who DON’T Attend College?” by Tamar Jacoby


– “Progress of the division of labor, “the employment of the far greater part “of those who live by labor, “that is, of the great body of the people, “comes to be confined to a
few very simple operations, “frequently to one or two. “But the understandings
of the greater part of men “are necessarily formed by
their ordinary employments. “The man whose whole life is spent “in performing a few simple operations, “of which the effects are
perhaps always the same, “or very nearly the same, “has no occasion to
exert his understanding “or to exercise his invention
in finding out expedients “for removing difficulties
which never occur. “He naturally loses, therefore,
the habit of such exertion, “and generally becomes
as stupid and ignorant “as it is possible for a
human creature to become.” Who said that? Sounds like… (class members speaking indistinctly) Sounds like Marx, right? It’s Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” in Book 5, which no one reads. Adam Smith understood that
the industrial economy was going to be built with
a kind of tragic deal. As consumers, the division of labor would mean a lot of cheaper goods. As producers, the division
of labor would mean that people would be
employed in ever simple, simpler, more specialized operations that might actually crush
their capacity to learn. We are living in a time we should rejoice. We should celebrate, because
we live in an economy where people who are confined
to those kinds of jobs are finding themselves
increasingly displaced. Displaced by automation, displaced… Well, actually automation
doesn’t quite get it. Displaced by webs of production that allow for machines,
networks, software, to take over so much of what we do, and requires much more invention. The problem is, of course, that there are a very significant number
of people in the economy who can’t cope with that invention. And there’s nobody in this country who’s more appropriate
to help us think through how we deal with a population of people who were born into one contract and have to deal with a new one. I met Tamar Jacoby 1977. We met in the office
at The New York Review where Tamar was working
on the editorial staff. I fell in love with her
then, I love her now. She is an extraordinary,
restless, and inventive mind. She went from The New York Review to become the deputy editor of the New York Times
editorial page, the op-ed page. Worked there for 10 years at least, and then went on to become a
regular writer for Newsweek. And I remember when you announced that you got a book contract and you were going to
write a book on race, and you decided that you
were going to leave Newsweek and do something serious, raise the level of
gravitas in the country, and you published a book in 1998. I want to get the title right, a wonderful book called
“Someone Else’s House: “America’s Unfinished
Struggle For Integration”, which led her into new fields. She began to explore the
problems of immigration. Tamar, as a journalist, realized that there were… That there was a consensus
around immigration that required activism and not journalism, and she basically moved
her work to Washington where she pretty much wrote the bill… – That never passed.
– That never passed, that was eventually adopted
by the Gang of Eight. And she was going,
shuttling back and forth between John McCain and Ted Kennedy, trying to get this passed, and other senators, Rubio and
others, until finally 2014, when the whole thing was ditched. Although, she did manage a book called “Reinventing the Melting Pot” which she published in
2004 on these questions. Tamar has since become the president of Opportunity America,
which is looking into the problem of displaced
workers in this country, and the question of whether
or not training matters. And I think we’re going to discover that it does, more than we believe, and I’ll leave it to Tamar to tell us why. – Thank you. Thank you, Bernie. What a nice introduction,
even from an old friend. Surpassed generosity and kindness. I guess I don’t need this. Okay. So thank you all for coming out. It’s a beautiful day out there. I’m not sure, if I had the choice, I would be here instead of there, so thank you very much. Let’s see, let’s get
rid of Bernie’s notes. I don’t need to tell you my bio. So when I’m… Let’s see, let’s go to the first slide. That’s the first task. As a listener, when I speak, when I’m in the audience I always want to know a little more about who the heck is that person. And Bernie gave me a very
generous introduction but I thought I would try
to fill in a little bit just so you understand what
lens I’m viewing things through. I am, as Bernie said, a
recovering journalist. I worked at The New
York Times and Newsweek. And then mid-career I crossed over to political advocacy, policy advocacy. And I ran a small policy
shop in Washington. And when I was starting this policy shop, you know, you talk to a lot of people when you’re getting something going. And I talked to a lot of people, and the smartest question
anyone asked me was which– I said I’m going to focus on opportunity and path to the middle class. And someone said to me, well, are you going to focus on
the poorest of the poor, or are you going to
focus on what we think of as the second income
quintile, sort of one step up? It was really the most important question that anyone asked me, because they’re very different groups with very different problems. And I went home and I thought
about it for a couple of weeks and I decided, long before
Trump was on the scene and before Trump was using the term, that I would focus on the
second income quintile, which is basically the working class. And the question was, is the… And these are really people
who, the way I think of them, people whose parents did
okay before technology and other things started
upending American lives, and people who work hard
and play by the rules, to use Clinton’s famous phrase
about a lot of Americans, Bill Clinton, but now have trouble
getting ahead or succeeding, or their kids have trouble
getting ahead or succeeding because the rules are changing. So our organization, my organization, is basically devoted to that problem. And we think about them in
a lot of different ways. We try to bring left and right
together to think about them, and we think a lot about
regional economic inequality which, don’t get me started, I’ll go off on a tangent on that. We think a lot about entrepreneurship. We think a lot about
higher education generally. But we really, our number one focus, policy focus, is career education. And what do I mean by career education? It’s preparing people for work,
developing and advocate… I don’t help any real people. Like, we don’t provide services. It’s about developing
and advocating policy that makes it easier for people to acquire the skills they need for satisfying, well paying jobs. Of course, advocating any kind
of policy in Washington today is kind of a, let’s say a dodgy business, as the Brits would say. It’s kind of a hard policy
environment, very polarized, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone. A lot more shouting and posturing than serious consideration of policy. But on these education issues it’s still more possible
than on some other issues. Immigration I basically gave up. Too much shouting and posturing. But education, career
education, still possible. And on this image, just for the fun of it, somebody teased me the other day and said that what I
basically do for a living is translate guys like
that guy on the left to the people over here on the right. And that guy on the left is Eddie, who I interviewed recently in the small automotive
repair shop that he runs, in a kind of rundown section
of Dallas-Fort Worth. And I tried to take his concerns and it feeds my policy consideration. So that’s what a lot of my research is. My research is kind of out and about. But that’s enough about me. Let’s go to the next slide. There we go. Let’s start with the big picture. And I think this is a reality that pretty much everyone
in this room knows. These are two very
familiar sets of numbers. Upper middle class incomes have risen dramatically since the 1970s. If not your parents’ incomes, the incomes that you’re going to earn. And other American’s
incomes have remained flat or grown much more slowly in that period. So, growing inequality. Second big fact, and this
is Raj Chetty’s work, nine in 10 Americans born in 1945 earned more than their parents, could expect to earn more
than their parents did at the same age, 90%. Now it’s more like half
of the people born in 1985 can expect to earn more than their parents by the time they reach the same age. That’s that declining line,
the fading American dream. And these are two very familiar
sets of numbers, as I say. What’s less well understood, I think, is that both of these troubling facts really trace back to human capital, to the increaseD return to human capital, education and skills. And so that’s what I’m
going to talk about today is what to do about that. Next slide. Let’s look a little
deeper at the problem here of the education and
skills, what’s changing. I would argue that the
determining fact of our day is that changing technology
means everyone along the scale needs more education. So there’s a bigger
return, a growing return, to a four-year degree and higher. 2/3 of the jobs created
since the Great Recession were for people with a B.A. or higher. More than half of what
people call good jobs, and I’ll talk about good jobs in a minute, are for people with
bachelor’s degrees or higher. But, important fact, only 1/3 of American adults
have bachelor’s degrees. So more than 2/3 of the good jobs… 2/3 of the jobs created in recent years, more than half of the good jobs, but they’re only 1/3 of the population. So the question is what do
we do about the other 2/3. And the point is they also
need more education and skill to keep up with changing technology. If you think about two working class men, maybe one 50 years ago going
to work in the Ford factory, he didn’t need a lot of skill. You could be a high school graduate, you could go to the Ford factory, basically Bernie’s point
about industrialization had reduced the need for skill. A part went by you on an assembly line and you moved it or manipulated it. Well, today, the guy fixing the robots needs a lot more skill than that, needs a lot more skill
and a lot more training. Fixing the robots, programming
the robots, what have you, in the advanced manufacturing facility. And the point is that there are fewer and fewer well paying jobs for people with only
high school educations. Fewer and fewer well paying
jobs for people like that. But there’s another category that is still kind of holding on that we in the business call middle skill. And it’s a slightly unfortunate term because, like, who wants
to be middle skill? But we haven’t really come up
with a better term than that. What it means is people with
more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. And there’s still a lot of
jobs for people like that. People guess that right now, people estimate that maybe half the jobs are still middle skill, and then in years to come,
even with changing technology, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the
jobs will be middle skill. But, and again here’s another important getting finer look at the labor market, those middle skill jobs
are pretty bifurcated between the ones that
are relatively good jobs, need training, relatively well paid, and the ones that are not such good jobs, don’t need so much training,
aren’t so well paid. So there’s a big premium
on helping some of these. If 2/3 of the population is
going to not be in that 56% we have to make sure that that other 2/3, that more of them good
the good middle skill jobs and fewer of them get the not
such good middle skill jobs, and that’s about training. And so just to look quickly
at the data before I move on, what do we mean by good jobs? This is Tony Carnevale at
the University of Georgetown. He’s kind of pioneered
this, and everybody uses it. In your early career, a good
job should pay $35,000 a year. By the time you’re an experienced worker, at the end of your career, a good job should pay
at least $45,000 a year. The average over lifetime
should be about 65, is about 65. And the numbers behind this graph is that the college number,
which is now 56%, has doubled. It’s a 100% increase in the last 25 years. It used to be a quarter of the good jobs were for college graduates. Now it’s more than half. The high school number,
which is down to 20 now, is down by 12%. And the middle skill
number is up by almost 30%. So the fewer and fewer good jobs for people with only high school, more and more and more good
jobs for people with B.A.s, but still, the middle
skill people are holding on and there are going to be jobs for them, we anticipate, in the future. But they need training. Now let’s move from the data,
and the reality of the world, to the policy debate. – [Participant] Could you just say what a middle skill job is? – Well, again, needs more than high school but less than college. So it might be the guy in the factory who programs the robots. It might be the highly skilled welder. You can learn welding in high school, but rarely good enough. It’s probably an allied health job. And again, they range from very
good jobs, pretty good jobs, to not such good jobs. There’s some job at Walmart
that’s a middle skill job. And I don’t mean to pick on Walmart but… Now we’re moving from the
reality out there in the world to the debate about the policy solution. And there’s a conventional
wisdom in many circles, and Bernie kind of braced me with this when he was inviting me to give the talk, that is, you know, job
training doesn’t work. That’s what a lot of people think, job training doesn’t work. And the truth is, like
much conventional wisdom, it’s not entirely unfounded. Where there’s smoke
there’s usually some fire. And the system is very uneven. Some localities are better than others. But a lot of government job training, and I’m going to choose
my words carefully, conventional old style
government job training, did not work. And as you can see what I’m
setting up in that sentence is there’s a distinction
between a conventional old style job training and vocational education and the new job training
and vocational education. We don’t call it that anymore. But let’s be candid about the old way. The old way, there are
many different programs but I’m just going to take you
through in detail a little bit through the biggest program, the federal program that’s
supposedly federal job training. It’s called the Public Workforce System. Probably most of you
never even heard of it, which tells you something right away. It’s basically federal
money that goes to states, that then goes to what are
called local workforce boards, that then goes to something that are called one-stop centers, and that’s where you’re supposed
to go and get job training. Has anyone in this room ever even heard of the
WIB or the one-stop? That’s government job training. And there are a lot of problems with the Public Workforce System. The first is that 90% of the money doesn’t actually go to job training. It goes to helping people find a new job. Which means you go there, and you sit at a computer
terminal, and you search job ads. And then maybe somebody
gives you a little advice about how to do an interview. But they don’t, only 10% of the time do they actually tell you,
teach you how to be a welder. It’s very bureaucratic, it’s
been plagued by cronyism, it’s unknown to the public, and it’s basically, when
it is known to the public it’s kind of seen as the welfare office because it’s run by, it’s kind of a big, bureaucratic government program, kind of from the people who
brought you the post office, like, not where you would
go to mail your package. And again, let’s just look
at a little bit of data to stab myself in the back before I move to how it’s going to change, how things are going to get better. The Mathematica, Mathematica is a big
national research firm, and they did what’s called
the Gold Standard study of the Public Workforce System, finally published this year
after many years of work. And what they found was that individualized staff assistance, like when you go into the one-stop and somebody actually
talks to you and helps you, does improve your earnings by about 20%. Like, they can help you. They’re sort of counselors, and they can tell you what to do. The training, no improvement. No improvement of earnings,
or employment, or anything. We spend quite a lot of
money on it as a taxpayer and it’s not really working. Now we’re coming to the second part of the sentence I spoke earlier, this distinction between the old training and vocational education, and the new training and what we now call career
and technical education. And I would basically… I don’t think these words are too big. There’s really a movement
underway, a national movement, to reinvent job training. And you can catch sight of
it in many different places. I mean, I think it’s
the most exciting part, realm of higher education right now. And I see it when I go
out to visit high schools and community colleges, and
employer provided job trainings, which I do quite a lot. There’s innovation, and
experiment, and excitement. I sometimes say it’s like
being in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. People are reinventing something, and you can feel the excitement, and you can feel that we’re in the middle of the reinventing. We’re not done yet. You can also see it, and I realize I’m using up a lot of time, you can also see it in
the world I live in, which is think tanks,
researchers, policymakers. The slides, nearly half of the governors talked about as a priority
in their state of states, there’s a lot of foundations pouring money into it, et cetera. And this is a kind of
a world that ferments, there’s a ferment there that mirrors the ferment on the ground. And we share, those people in that world share these basic assumptions. Not everyone needs a four-year degree. It’s not necessarily bad for the country that only 1/3 of Americans
have bachelor’s degrees. We want to bring that number up, but it doesn’t have to go to 100%, but high school is no longer enough, and a priority is coming
up with better answers for that 2/3 that don’t finish college. We may, in the end– I was going to talk a little
bit about my organization but I’m going to skip. In the end, this revolution may not work. The people, the skeptics about
job training may be right. I don’t know if you read
Andrew Yang or people like that who say job training just
doesn’t work, can’t work. Maybe they’ll be right. But it won’t be for lack of trying. There’s a lot of us really
trying to change this. So let’s go a little deeper
and look into what does work. Now I’m going to talk
about the key ingredients of the new approach. I’m going to take a little
longer with this slide and with these answers. The first one is you really
can’t train people for a job without an employer involved. It’s sort of like, my metaphor, it’s like pitching without a catcher, or an architect trying to design a house without knowing the people
that are going to live there. You can sort of do it, but it’s not probably going
to come out that well. If you don’t have an employer involved you’re not going to know what
skills are really in demand. You’re not going to know for sure that you’re training up-to-date skills. You might be teaching people to code but you don’t know about this year… The guy in the community college probably doesn’t know what’s
the code that they’re using now in the business down the street. He knows the code when he learned. If you don’t have an employer involved you’re not going to be
teaching the up-to-date code. And the most important thing is, if there’s no employer involved there’s not going to be a
job waiting for the student at the end of the program. Like if you’re just training, oh, you’ll learn how to be a welder, but we don’t really know if there’s any welding
in demand in this area. We’re going to train you to be a nurse but maybe we have enough nurses. So employers are key so that the program
really takes you somewhere that’s meaningful in today’s economy. And that’s really the biggest innovation from the old job training
to the new job training, is the employer involvement. But a second big thing
is work-based learning. When you all think about job training I bet the first word that
comes to mind for most of you starts with an A, apprenticeship. Why is that the first word
that comes to people’s mind? Why is that, what are you thinking of? The reason is that apprenticeship really is the gold
standard of job training. And what makes apprenticeship
so good and so important is that it combines
learning in a classroom with practice out on a job. And that’s important for a
lot of different reasons. You’re a student, you’re in the classroom, you’re not a very good student, you don’t really care, I’m talking at you. If you’ve been out on the job you actually might understand
why what I’m telling you is relevant, and
interesting, and important, because you’ve seen it
in practice on a job. You also, when you go to your job, you get to practice what I told you. So you’re learning on the job what you learned in class,
you’re practicing it. A third thing, apprentices
learn how to handle themselves in an adult workplace. Really important for young people. They earn the respect
of adults they respect. Really important, especially for boys. And they get a taste of the
agency and responsibility of holding down a job. That’s seeing that the
way that they matter and the way they handle themselves matter to something bigger than themselves. But, and here’s sort of the
key point about apprenticeship, apprenticeship is a very
expensive, structured, long, complicated program. Not every job needs a
three-year apprenticeship. Not every employer can afford
a three-year apprenticeship. Not every learner has time for
a three-year apprenticeship. So work-based learning
doesn’t always have to come packaged as apprenticeship. The key thing is that you
combine this work-based learning with instruction in the
theory of the thing. Point number three is kind of
a little wonky, credentials, but it’s one of the big
areas of innovation. The way to think of it is you think of credentials as degrees. That’s a credential you’re aiming for, most people in this room. In the workforce world
now people are thinking, well, maybe the college
doesn’t really know what we need people to learn. Maybe the employers have a better idea about what people need to learn. Maybe the employers should
cook up the credentials. And maybe the credentials
shouldn’t be based on how much time you sit in that seat. Maybe they should be based on what can you actually prove you can do. Like here’s a welding test,
can you weld the darn thing? Maybe the credential should come for that. So there’s a whole world of
alternative credentialing. That’s where a lot of the ferment is. Number four, technical
training is not enough. If you go and you talk to employers about what’s wrong with the workers, you can’t find workers, what’s wrong with your job applicants, the first thing they say is
they don’t have any soft skills. And they usually mean they
don’t show up on time, they don’t know how to work, they can’t take lesson, feedback from the boss. Soft skills really means two things that the employers aren’t teasing apart. It does mean that what Tom Friedman calls the sit up, stand up, shut up, show up on time kind of skills, like that’s one kind of soft skill. But there’s also the soft
skill that’s problem solving, what Bernie really called invention. There’s the soft skill
that’s critical thinking and analyzing a problem. And the point is, that’s
increasingly necessary for these middle skill jobs, for the better middle skill jobs. The ones that are just about tech are going to be replaced
by tech pretty soon, like a lot of the… But the soft skills,
it’s key to hold any job, but it’s also going to
be key as the jobs change and you need to learn a new thing. It’s about learning how to learn and how to analyze a situation. So, soft skills are really important. Central ingredient number five, many of these learners need
supports, what we call supports. And that means it’s hard
for them to get to the job. They need transportation, or
they have childcare issues, they need help taking
care of their childcare. So all the good programs think
about that, and help people. And six, and to me, this increasingly, the more I spend time in this world I think is maybe the most important, is people need a clear, direct
path to an attainable goal. These learners are not like the Dartmouth students in this room where they have four
years to go to college, and enjoy it, and it’s a luxury, and they can explore, and
they can take their time. Most of these learners
are kind of in a hurry. They’re probably working
while they’re training, so it’s hard. They have to juggle their family, and their job, and their college. And they’re in a hurry to get
back into the labor market and get a better job, so they don’t have time to come
a place, to an institution, and try this, and try
that, and wander around, and they’re not sure what the end is. If that’s what you offer them,
they might not even start. But if you say this is a clear path to that job that you want down
the street at that company, and you’re going to make X
number of dollars an hour when you get there, a year, it’s much more appealing,
and it’s much more effective. People see where they’re headed,
they believe it’s doable, and they are less likely
to get distracted, which students get. So those are the key ingredients. And this is one kind of last
overarching key ingredient, and this I think is true for all of us, not just middle skill workers but it’s particularly
true for the middle skill. Nobody thinks that getting
educated as a young person and then going out to work, and that’s the end of your education, nobody thinks that’s going
to apply in the future. Like we’re all going to be continuing… Woops, I’m way ahead. Okay, sorry. That was the key ingredients. Was that up there when I was talking about
the key ingredients? Okay, I just skipped one. Now we’re on lifelong learning. My bad. Nobody thinks that it’s going
to be one-and-done anymore. People assume that you’re going to have some learning at the beginning,
then go out and work, and come back and get some more learning. And again, I think this
is particularly true for these middle skill workers. And just an example of
how I’ve seen it work, you can learn, there’s a program where
you learn the rudiments of like construction work. And you can learn that in high school. You can do core training in high school. Then you might go to a community college. A typical person might
do that in high school. Then they might go work a little bit. Then they might go back and
say I need a little more. They might go to a community college. And there they would actually
learn to be a welder, or some specialized trades. Electrician, boilermaker, whatever, at the community college. And then they would go out and work for another five, or 10 or whatever years, and then they might
decide, well, you know, I actually want to run a
little construction business. So then they might come
back and get an associate’s and learn how to do the
business side of it. And the idea is that we’re
trying to setup pathways where people can do that. And they can take the learning
they learned the first time and it will count when they
come back the next time, and they can build. And that’s one of the hardest
parts about the whole thing. The buzzword is stackability
of the credentials, and I’ll talk a little
more about it in a minute. The challenge is that
more educated workers are much more likely to do this, to come back later for training. If you look now who comes back
later in life for training it’s much more likely to be people who already have a pretty good education. You already have a bachelor’s degree and you go back to learn how
to do some kind of coding. Or you already have… There’s a lot of different
variants of that. And employers are much
more likely, right now, to invest in the people who already have a lot of education, so it’s sort of like the rich get richer. The employers are willing to train people who already have a bachelor’s
degree to be a manager. They’re much less likely to
train that middle skill guy who doesn’t come with much education, they’re not so sure how
he’s going to work out. So this thing of making
lifelong learning work is still one of the big challenges
we haven’t really solved. Now I’m just going to go quickly through the three stages. We’ve got the three stages, K-12, college age, young
adults, and mid-career adults, and I’m going to give
maybe a few more examples of what really works at
each one of these stages, and some good programs. K-12, there’s our lovely young man studying K-12, learning at high school. What’s important at the K-12 stage is first that you actually start early. Almost all of these jobs
require STEM skills. And if kids don’t develop
STEM skills very early, they don’t develop them,
and especially women. Women, if you aren’t
kind of grounded in STEM, and interested in STEM, and
learning STEM by third grade, you’re never going to
really be good at stem is what research shows. And the sort of implied point here, CTE, career and technical education, is not for low performing students. All these jobs you need math, and you need to be able to think. We’re not taking the dumb kids and teaching them how to be welders. There’s as much technology, there’s as much geometry
involved in being a welder as there is in anything I do all day long. So start early is really important. Elementary and middle school, a big, important element
is career exposure. It’s a version of work-based learning. You can’t send elementary
school kids to work. That’s against the law, child labor laws, back from Marx’s day. But you can get them out
to see different careers. I don’t know how many of you in this room do something related to
what your parents did, but a lot of people do. Or they learn about the environment where they might like to work from what their parents did. And they never experiment
and look around, and say, well, my mom’s a nurse. Do I like the sight of blood? My dad works in a factory. Do I like machines? What am I good at? And so career exposure is
really important early on, for everyone. We should all have more career exposure. When my niece graduated
from an Ivy League college and wasn’t sure what subject she should get her graduate degree in I said, “No, no, Jane,
that’s not the question. “The question is what kind
of job do you want to do?” The third element that’s… The next element’s that important in K-12 is high school really
is kind of the key place where we get serious about this, for K-12. Like, it’s nice, elementary school kids should have career exposure. But by high school that’s when you’re really starting to
focus on what you might do and learn the rudiments of it, or at least get exposed to it in a slightly more serious way. And it’s a big number. I wonder if any of you
can guess this number. The estimate is that 45% of
American high school kids are now getting some exposure to career and technical education. It’s getting quite widespread. And the essential elements,
surprise surprise, are employer engagement, you need that employer to make sure what you’re teaching them is going to be relevant and
they’re really learning something; work-based learning, for the same reasons, career exposure and
learning those soft skills, really important for a 16-year-old. And then the other element
that’s important in high school that isn’t important for
some of those other groups is a bridge from secondary
to post-secondary. I mean, I’m sure all of you in this room made that transition pretty well, from high school to college. But a lot of kids who aren’t, whose parents aren’t focused on education fall through the cracks at that point. They don’t know where to go to college, they don’t know about college, they don’t like college
when they go there. So it’s really important
that high school programs help kids make that transition. And one of my favorite programs like this, it’s called Energy Tech
High School in New York. And it’s a public high school. And that guy, I think, is at Energy Tech if I’m not mistaken. And it was founded by Con Edison, which is the utility company in New York, decided to work with a public school and develop workers that
could work for Con Edison. And Con Edison is a big company, employs hundreds of thousands of people. What they ask is not who can come in and do the entry level jobs. What they ask is who can come in and get the entry level jobs but then be educated enough that we as a company can
gradually promote them. So they’ve got what it takes to get in, to be the entry level job
and make whatever it is, 30, 40, $50,000 a year. But they will have what it takes that we might train them
further and promote them. So the school and the company spent a year thinking about what would that mean teaching these young people. Like what’s the culture of the
company that we want to teach, what are exactly the skills of the company that we want to teach. And many of them won’t
come to Con Ed, of course, but we’ll teach them skills they can build on somewhere else. Then what do they have to learn? How do we help them go to
community college in New York and learn some of the higher
skills that they learn before they come to us at the company? How do we make that bridge to CUNY? And the Con Ed people are
involved in the school. You go to the school any given day, there’s a Con Ed person
there giving a lecture, a Con Ed person acting as a mentor. Employer right there kind of making this a training for the company, but also these kids are learning not just the technical skills. They’re also learning the soft skills of how to solve problems
and how to think creatively. And many of them will
not go to work for Con Ed but they will have had this discipline of learning something in a high school that they can then build on. And there’s a growing body of research about high school CTE, so moving beyond… At Energy Tech the graduation rates now exceed the graduation
rates in the borough, which is the unit in New York, exceed the graduation rates in the city, exceed the graduation rates in the state. Because the kids are involved
in what they’re learning, and they see a reason for it, and they see something at the end. And that’s pretty much what research shows about CTE in general. Virtually every study
shows that CTE students are more likely to graduate high school than non-CTE students
in the same high school, about 10% more likely. They also get an earnings bump, especially important
for the boys, 10 to 30%. That’s high school CTE. Now it’s telling me multiple threats. Is it going to move with me? My computer’s having multiple threats. (scoffs) It’s frozen. – Oh no, really?
– Yeah. I mean, we don’t need the slides but maybe someone can
just take a quick look and see if you can unthreaten it. The next stage I’m going to look
at is, while Bernie does that, is college age and older. Why do I talk about college age and older? I really say college age and young adult is the way I put it. Bernie is going to disarm
the threats, slay the dragon. There we go, thank you. (chuckling) The next stage, college
age and young adult. And the reason I frame it that way is a lot of these people we’re talking about, unlike, I think, most of
the people in this room, they don’t go to college
right away after high school. Maybe they go to college
for a little while, and they try college for
a few weeks, a few months. They don’t actually like college. They weren’t that good in high school. College doesn’t make any sense to them. Why am I learning American history, and why am I reading social studies? I don’t care, I need a job. And so they often drop out of college. And then they often work for a while. And they often, what you see when you
go to these programs, at around age 28, 29 is
when they often come back and say now it’s time for me
to really learn to be a welder. I’ve had enough time
working the fast food place. I’ve had enough time
floating around odd jobs. Now it’s time for me to
really learn a skill. So that’s why I say college
age and young adult, because we’re not generally
talking about your age. There are many possible providers
of this kind of training. Like you could go to the
Public Workforce System. You could get trained like this. It wouldn’t be easy but you could do it. You could go to a bootcamp. Some auto employers are
training people at this age. But the best, arguably the
best positioned, I think, institution to train on a wide scale for these college age young adult people are community colleges. And the reason I say that has mostly something to do with numbers. There’s 17,000 people in bootcamps, hardly even a real number. Out of all Americans, 17,000 people. There’s 170,000 people,
give or take a few, in the Public Workforce System. Again, a tiny number of how many people we try to educate each year, 170,000. There’s half a million apprentices. We’re kind of getting to a decent number but still nothing like what’s needed. There are 12 million people
at community colleges. So community colleges are the institution that could do this at scale. Community colleges are really uneven. Some of them are terrible. The graduation rates are abysmal. A lot of them focus too much on preparing people to
come to four-year colleges. They think that’s their main job, is that they should be junior colleges instead of workforce training providers. But it’s also true that some of the most exciting
experimentation in workforce ed is happening at community colleges. That’s where I spend a lot of my time and kind of lifting up the
better experimentation. The key ingredients, we’ve
talked about them really already, we need employer partners, the training has to be
in up-to-date skills, they have to have that fast, direct path to an attainable goal. Even two years can seem like too much. You know, two years and
I have to take English, and I have to take math,
and maybe I don’t need that. I just want to learn welding
and go get that welding job. A good example, I’ll
give you a good example, my favorite example of a
community college program. It’s called FAME, and this is a young woman
at the FAME program. And it was started by
Toyota, like 10 years ago, and now has 300 companies in 11 states. And the key is, it’s basically
an apprenticeship program where you go to school two days a week and then you go work, doing
this, three days a week. And this is called
industrial maintenance tech, is what she’s doing. She’s basically programming the robots and taking care of the robots. The really key is that the employers, instead of the college
finding some employers and saying, “Give us some advice,” the employers pick the college. And the employers say to the college, “If you don’t do things
exactly how we want them done “you can’t even be our training provider.” And they have to hire people
who worked in industry, who not just are teachers
but really know the industry. They have to tear out their classrooms and put in a thing that
looks like a factory floor. They have to use the company’s curriculum. The company picks the students. Like, the college doesn’t
recruit the students, the company does. And, really key thing, the
program is 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, technical training, stand up,
sit up, show up soft skills, and critical thinking,
problem solving soft skills. And I’ll tell you, it’s an
amazing place to go visit because they do all the work–
they don’t have classrooms. They do all the work in a place that looks like a factory floor. So they have these whiteboards that are like you see in a factory. And they use these
whiteboards to do, like, the Toyota five-step problem solving. And if I could solve any
aspect problem of my life as clearly, and
systematically, and brilliantly as that Toyota five-step lean
manufacturing system works, my life would be a lot better organized. So these kids really learn soft
skills, technical training, and they learn how to learn. If that machine gets
outdated in five years, she knows how to learn
how to do something else. And the results of FAME are great. Typical graduation rate, community college average nationwide, is 30% over three years. Like, how awful is that? FAME graduation rates are 70 to 95% depending on the institution. Young people graduate debt-free,
with an associate’s degree, with a credential
recognized by an employer, and with two years job experience. And the results at Toyota
are, they used to say, well, team leader takes
five to eight years to get promoted to team leader. You have FAME kids who are team leader after two and three years. I mean, it’s really impressive
programming, it really works. One of the best programs in the country. But now we’re going to move
to a slightly harder problem. So, high school, we
kind of know what to do. College, we’re learning what to do. We need more of it. There’s not enough of it anywhere, but we kind of know what to do. Mid-career adults are one
of the hardest challenges. These are people, late
30s, mid 30s, late 30s, had a job, lost a job, got
automated out of their job. We know least about how to help them. And they come with a lot of often psychological problems. I’ve spent a lot of times visiting places that try to help them. They’re often sort of broken in some way. Like, they had a whole life of a career and then they were no longer necessary, and somebody said, you know, bye. And they haven’t been in a
classroom in a long time, and they don’t necessarily
know how to learn anymore. They’re the people that
are hardest to help. We’re getting better
at it, we’re learning. The first biggest challenge is will they even come to training. Because they’re not used to
classes, they don’t like school. They weren’t very good at
school in the first place. That’s why they went to work in a factory. Evidence suggests that
they will try training. They have long waiting lists for a lot of the programs that exist, and people do actually go
to WIBs and say help me. So I think there is evidence that they are looking for help, often. At least they come to the WIB to get their unemployment insurance and you can also sometimes
grab them then for training. But again, the key to
recruitment in my view is that clear, direct path
to an attainable goal. If they think, oh, I’m
going to go into training and never come out, they
are not going to do that. If they think there’s a… I know that big plant in town where they’re making airplane fuselages, I’ve seen this in real life, and I can get a job there? If I can, after 10 years floating around doing other crappy jobs, excuse me, I could get that good job
in the airplane factory, and that they know that if
they take this 13-week program at the end of it they get
a guaranteed interview at that airplane factory, they’re going to be much
more likely to do it. So that clear path is
really important for them. Employers is really important. A job waiting at the
end is really important. And the other key thing
we’re learning is that you really want to try to catch them before they drop out of the labor force. Because when people drop
out of the labor force and don’t have a job for a while, they don’t do very well, especially men. It’s harder to come
back and be productive. They pick up bad habits,
their motivation flags. They figure out they can
get by on their food stamps, and their girlfriend, and
an odd job now and again. They don’t keep up with changing skills. So the longer people
are out of that old job that they get automated out of before they get trained into
a new job, the harder it is. And so, ideally what you
would do is you would catch them before they go. You see this in Europe where, actually, when the plant knows it’s
going out of business they bring in some job training so that the people are
ready for the next job. And some of us are trying
to make that happen here. We haven’t been able to, but
some experimentation with that. But one example, I’ll talk a little more about that in one minute, but this is actually a real woman from a program again in New York. I didn’t realize all my
examples were from New York. She’s training at a
place called Per Scholas. And Per Scholas trains tech
workers from the South Bronx. I don’t know what she was, but maybe she worked
in an allied health job or some kind of custodial job. Train people like that to be tech workers. Hallmarks of the program
is you have to demonstrate some motivation and
some aptitude to get in. They’re not just taking anyone. Because of that, there’s
a strong sense of pride in the program. Like, people feel this esprit de corps, like I got into Per
Scholas, I’m at Per Scholas, I’m with my group at Per Scholas. Employer partnerships are key. The employers figure out the curriculum and they promise interviews at the end. There’s a very direct, focused path, like you cannot take anything
but the path you’re on. And there’s a lot of soft
skills and student supports. Like, surprise surprise, all the ingredients we talked about. Results, graduation rates 85%, unbelievable number for this population, employment rate 80%, unbelievable number for this population. Salaries, 35, 40k a year, it’s not a great job but it’s a start. It’s a big leap up for her. Coming to the end here I’m going to talk a little more broadly about big challenges across the field. And again, let’s be honest. This is a work in progress this movement I’m talking about. We don’t have all the answers yet. It’s definitely not big enough
or widespread enough yet. We’re trying to invent something new. One of the big challenges again, we started talking about a minute ago, is will the adults retrain. We talked about that a little bit. But the other piece of policy just to throw in the mix there, its key is to get them as soon as you can after they lose their old job, to show them a clear path, but the other thing you
have to think about is, so if I lose my factory job that’s now paying me $25 an hour and my immediate prospects are working at Wendy’s for $9 an hour or being unemployed while maybe I train, that’s a tough question for a guy. He’s still only 38. He maybe has something, family to support, or he even needs to
keep his own rent going. So wage insurance is an idea that both Democrats and
Republicans have flirted with where the government
would pay the difference, or half the difference, maybe, between that guy’s $25 an hour
pay and his $9 an hour pay for a couple of years while he trained. And so wage insurance is an idea that it’s a little bit like national service we were talking about this morning. It hasn’t caught on with
as much power as it should but it’s an important added policy thing. Challenge number two is kind of what we’ve hinted at earlier
in the conversation but not really gone into maybe enough, is this idea of stackability
of the credentials so that what you learn in high school, when you come back when
you’re 21 you can build on it, and then when you come back
at 28 you can build on it. And every conversation you’ll ever have with anyone in my field, they’ll use the word stackability, you know, one of these
ridiculous buzzwords. And right now it’s kind
of an empty promise. Because if I come to Dartmouth with my community college
degree in welding, Dartmouth is going to say, you know, sorry, little girl,
that doesn’t count here. Even when I go, even if I… And they’re certainly
not going to say, well, what you did in the military where you learned something related to what we’re
teaching you counts here. They’re going to say, no, sorry, the faculty committee doesn’t buy it. And so a lot work has to be done still to make sure that the stackability works. And I could go into the details. I don’t think you want to hear them. I want to get to your questions. But that’s an important area where we still need to do a lot of work. I mean, a lot of what we
need to do is scale this. But the older adults, the stackability, are areas that really need more work. The third thing that
really needs more work, there are four actually,
is kind of the navigation. So here I think of this example, you know, I spend too much time at the gym and I get to know the people at the gym who are the night clerks at the desk. I go late and they all know me. I go every day, they talk to me. And repeatedly in my life one of these very able,
good guy managers at my gym wants to do something
more impressive next. Like, he’s had the stab at
the gym, what do I do next? And they never know where to go. Like, should I go to college? Should I go to a for-profit college? What should I learn to do? They just have no clue. And these are able young people and the world is just, it’s an impenetrable maze to them. And what’s what the Workforce
System is supposed to do, like when you go and you
sit at that computer, and you look at the
test, the aptitude test, and the counselor helps you they’re supposed to help
you figure out what to do. But they don’t do a very good job at it. None of these young guys
I talk to, my friends, even know about the WIB. They probably wouldn’t go there
if they’d ever heard of it. And that’s a place where we need to give people
a lot more guidance. Honestly, the people who
think that Silicon Valley should be coming up with
universal basic income, I think this is a job for Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley should
be inventing the apps, and the software, and
the navigation tools. I hate to have the analogy, but if you can find a date on the web but you can’t help
yourself figure out a job, the apps aren’t doing the right thing. And there should be much
more widespread help with the navigation. And then the last big challenge which often occupies the
bulk of a talk like this but I’m not going to say too
much about it, is the stigma. You guys feel a lot more prestige for being at a four-year academic college than most people do, many
people do, for being a welder. Society gives a lot more prestige to people who have four-year
degrees than welders, even though welders
can make a lot of money and it’s a hard job, an important job. And we have to fix that stigma. And a lot of people tear their hair and worry about how to fix that stigma. I think the answer to fixing that stigma is getting people good jobs and showing that they earn money. And when that starts to work
and people know about that, the stigma is going to
go away pretty fast. Last slide, one more slide before the end. We have to talk a little
bit about funding, like where’s the money going
to come from for all of this. And so, this slide, the
problem kind of explains… Well, first thing to say is, workforce training costs more. If this was English, or
this was political science, or this was whatever, I could
have a big lecture like this. Really hard to teach people
to fly a plane in a lecture. You have to have one-on-one instruction. Really hard to teach
people how to be a welder, hard to teach people to be a nurse. All those, they need smaller classes. You also need technology, usually. You also need to burn
up the stuff you weld. It’s often much more expensive, But we spend much less on it. The two big numbers that matter here, we spend $140 billion
as a country every year on post-secondary education and training. That’s a lot of money, 140 billion. Well, 14% of it, 19 billion,
goes to workforce ed. And the other 100 and
whatever it is, 120 billion, goes to schools like this. I don’t know what the balance should be. I don’t know if it’s 50/50, I don’t know if it’s 60/40 or 40/60, but it’s not 86/14. We’re spending our money
in the wrong place, or not fairly distributing it. So there’s some answers to that. One of the things I work on is I think you should be able
to use your Pell Grant for more of the kind of
training that I believe in. Right now it’s very hard
to use your Pell Grant. I won’t go into the details because I do want to
get to some questions. But we’re working on that in Congress. There’s a Republican version,
a Democratic version, a bipartisan version. We’re trying to find common
ground, pass that as a bill. But states can also do a lot. And states can create incentives. And again, this is where some of this experimentation is going on. States can reward colleges when they prepare learners
for in-demand jobs. And there’s a state that does that. Several states do that. They can help pay for tuition for programs where students earn industry credentials. There’s a state, they do
that really well in Virginia. They can reward colleges
for labor market outcomes, like the people that get good jobs so they earn good earnings. These are all things
that state policy can do to give community colleges
incentives to do this better. And again, there’s a lot of
interesting experimentation going on in that field. And a lot of what I do is try to find the
interesting experiments, tell states about each other, try to encourage the
spread of good policy. So last slide, in closing, I want to come back to the big picture and really, in a way, sum up. The workplace is going to be
transformed in years to come. We all know that. And change driven by robotics and AI, it’s going to affect all of us. But it’s going to affect
some of us more than others, and less educated workers are at much higher risk of displacement. They’re at higher risk of displacement and it’s going to be harder
for them to go back and retrain because they don’t have the resources, or they don’t know about it,
or they don’t know the need to. And the question is how to prepare them for that future that we think is coming. Here’s where I’m going to be a
little bit sort of political. I strenuously oppose the people who say that we should throw in the towel, I consider that’s what they’re saying, and saying we can’t adjust,
we can’t train them. We sophisticated, educated
people are going to go on working because we’re going to have jobs, and enjoying the rewards of work, purpose, dignity, financial rewards, but that other 2/3, they should stay home, and we should pay them to stay home, a universal basic income, like $1,000 a month or whatever it is. And they can stay home,
and be dependent, idle, and dependent on the government, with no purpose and no dignity and just enough money that
they can kind of get by and they won’t rise up and revolt, which is basically what
I see UBI as being about. I think we need to do better than that. I really think we need to try this kind of solution
that I’m talking about. I think we need to try to teach all the Americans the skills they need to adjust and thrive in a new economy. And maybe we can’t do it as
successfully as I hope we can, but I think we can’t give up trying. What’s exciting about my life
is to be part of this movement where we’re trying to come up with a better answer for these people. (audience applauding) So thank you. – [Professor Avishai] Let
me force you to double click on the thing you actually rushed through but spoke about in my class this morning because it has to do with Pell Grant. Because I think that one of
the most interesting things you can cast light on is this problem in Congress with trying to get people who
would otherwise be reasonable to come to terms on something
that makes so much sense but can’t because of some
kind of ideological fixation. Would you speak a little
more about why Pell Grants don’t go to those kinds of courses? – Let me just say another thing I skipped that I’ll just add as a preamble. How do I approach this field? I’m a small organization. I see it as this Silicon Valley ferment. And I see the job of my organization as kind of to be a catalyst. To find some of the
more exciting programs, I think of them as the better mousetraps, to lift up the better mousetraps, to bring together the people
who are doing better mousetraps to talk to each other,
and to help make policy create room for the better mousetraps. And policy is way behind, so there’s a lot of
experimentation at these colleges that’s really exciting, that
Congress hasn’t caught up with. And so one of the big ways
they haven’t caught up with it is the Pell Grant program. And here we have the beauty
of looking at the numbers. Do we? Pell Grant programs, well, Pell Grant programs
are about $30 billion a year we spend on Pell. And so Pell is a needs-based scholarship. It’s not available to everyone. But if you earn below a certain amount, your family earns below a certain amount, the college pays a big chunk–
a chunk of your tuition. It doesn’t go very far at Dartmouth, but it goes a long way
at a community college. They pay about $6,000 a year
if you’re a full-time student. The trick is you can use
your Pell Grant at Dartmouth, you can use your Pell
Grant at community college if you’re preparing for a degree. And it can be a degree in anthropology or a degree in some kind of allied health. If you’re not preparing for a degree and you’re on what we call the non-credit or continuing education
side of the college, which is where some of these
really good programs are, you can’t use your Pell. So why would somebody,
what’s non-credit college? What does that mean? That sounds crazy, right? But if I’m a company and
I come to the college, and I say, “I really
need welders tomorrow, “can you setup a program for me,” the college is going to
say, “Come back in two years “after it’s gone through
the faculty committee “and the accreditor,
and we’ve come up with– “and the state,” and you
know, like, forget it. And the guy says, “No, I
need welders yesterday. “I’m going to close my company
if I don’t have welders.” And the college says, “I can’t help you.” If the guy goes nextdoor to the non-credit part of the college, the people say, “When do you
want the class to start?” Because they don’t need the
faculty committee approval, they don’t need the accreditor. There’s issues of quality control, right, because it might be a crappy program. We have to figure out how
to make sure it’s not… It’s a quality program, excuse me. The non-credit side is much
more nimble, much more agile. It’s where a lot of the good
workforce training goes on. We know nothing about it, which is one of the striking things. We know that there are
seven million people in the credit side of
the community college. We think there are five million people in the non-credit side. We have no idea because many
schools don’t keep track. The government doesn’t keep track. It’s one of the things I’m working on, how can we figure that out. But the point is you
can’t use your Pell Grant on the non-credit side of the college. The other way people talk about it is you can’t use your Pell Grant for a program that’s shorter
than a full semester. But a lot of workforce training, even on the credit side of the college, is shorter than a full semester because you don’t need
a whole full semester to learn the basics of welding. All you need is to learn the welding. And I’m sorry I keep picking
on welding but it’s easy. There are a lot more programs in welding. So right now, again, the overwhelming majority
of Pell, well, all Pell, goes to accredited schools and programs that are
a semester or longer. And it’s been a bipartisan idea for two, or three, or four years that we should change that. And the idea is generically
called workforce Pell. And there was a bill that
was called the JOBS Act, and I said this morning,
I’m repeating my same jokes for people who’ve already heard my jokes, every bill in Washington
is called the jobs act but this was the JOBS
Act for workforce Pell. And the idea was it
would open up some Pell for these programs that
are shorter than a semester at non-accredited schools,
with quality control. There are various kinds
of quality control, I won’t go into it, but we weren’t just going to say anybody. So now this year, this
was a bipartisan bill for two or three years, a lot of support, with a coalition of support that included groups
on the right and left. Business was for it, unions were for it, community colleges were for it. There was some kind of
education think tanks that weren’t so sure because they were worried about quality, but it had broad bipartisan support. Well, this year the broad
bipartisan support splintered and this year there’s a Democratic bill, and a Republican bill,
and a bipartisan bill, and we’re not sure if it’s going to pass because the coalition has splintered. And the thing they’re arguing about is should for-profit colleges be included, should you be able to use your Pell not just at the community
college short program, but should you be able to use
it at a for-profit college short program. And for Democrats, for-profit colleges can never be redeemed, like, they’re all bad quality. And many of them are bad quality. But Republicans say,
well, what’s important is not the tax status of the college. What’s important is can we
build enough quality control into the way we give out the money so that we’re sure the
programs have good results. I mean, to me, that’s the kind of, you should be able to talk about that and come to a bipartisan
solution around that. Like, it’s not the tax status, it’s is there enough
quality control in the bill. But right now it doesn’t look like we’re going to get there
this year. (chuckles) So that’s the world I live in and that’s how, again,
this kind of reality… I mean the bigger point
there I think, in a way, besides the partisanship in Congress is that Congress isn’t keeping up. I did a study this year where I went and I looked at these, at eight of these short programs at eight colleges in
four different states, and I found these wonderful programs. These people are doing
this experimentation and the employers in the
region say we really need this, and the educators say
if we have more money we could do eight times as much. I mean, I don’t have the data
in front of me, but you know, we train, at NOVA, which is a really good community college in Northern Virginia. They have an Amazon apprenticeship program that trains 170 people a year. They say, “We can be training
10,000 people a year,” if they could use, had funding for this. There’s demand for 10,000 IT
workers in Northern Virginia but people can’t… Right now, people are
reaching into their pocket to pay for the program,
or the employer’s paying. The point is that there’s all this… To me, the bigger picture here is that there’s a lot of
exciting ferment going on out in the world. The policy is slow, is way behind. What some of us are trying to do, again, is find that ferment, push it along, and help make the policy,
help the policy keep up. Yes. – [Participant] Given the fact that you say Congress is behind, and given how bad our politics really are and how bad our job training
has been in the past, why the focus on a federal
government run program rather than, you cited
that the Toyota program is really successful, the
Con Ed one in New York, why not incentivize private
companies to partner with… – Yeah, really good question. And we do need to do that. The answer there, we do need
to do that in a big way. Incentivize companies,
get companies involved. But you kind of need to try a lot… Like, education spending is really, federal education spending
is really important. We spend 140 billion,
that’s a lot of money. State support for colleges
is really important. I don’t know what the total
is, but it’s a big number. The community colleges already exist. We should try to turn them
around so they do a better job. And we should have
employer provided training and incentivize the
employers to get involved. But Con Ed is partnering
with a public high school so the taxpayers in New York are paying for that high school. It took Con Ed and the
high school together, so it took local spending and the company. FAME, the employers are partnering with the community college system. Taxpayers in Kentucky are paying for that community college system. Employers are not going
to pay for all of it because workers are going to move on. It used to be in the old
days employers paid more because people were going to come and stay there their whole lives. Nobody comes and stays
their whole lives anymore. And people need a lot more training. There’s a lot of grumbling out there, employers should pay more. Employers should pay more, but employers are never
going to pay all of it. And what you want to do
is create a situation where employers feel that
they’re kind of in a partnership so they pay some and get involved some, but you also need… Employers aren’t very good teachers so you’re probably going
to need some institution to do the teaching. But good question. Yes, ma’am. – [Participant] Well, my
question is kind of involved. But it’s wonderful to hear
all these financial ideas, and of course those are
extremely important. But also, you alluded to the fact that people who don’t graduate from college are just kind of considered lesser people, especially by the elites that
do graduate from college. And our culture currently has very little
impact on this problem because those are throwaway
people, and who cares. So it seems that to rectify that problem you’re going to have to
build up the culture, as well as the financial side, to value these people as people, and to give them some kind of status. Why do many of the low performing
students in high school stay in school and graduate? Because they’re on the football
team, and they have status. And why do some of the
cheerleaders stay there? Because they too have status. Well, what about… What about continuing status
for some of these programs to make them attractive in that
way, as well as financially? – Yeah, no I think that’s
a really good question. And that’s what I meant when I
was talking about the stigma. There is kind of a… It’s unequal prestige or
unequal regard, kind of. But I think, A, when you’re out… We live in a bubble. Very few of us even know anyone who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. We live in a world where everyone we know has a bachelor’s degree, so when I even say only
1/3 of American adults have bachelor’s degrees people look at me like, what,
what are you talking about? It’s like Lillian Hellman. I don’t know anyone who voted for Nixon. Is there anyone like that out there? So we live in a kind of different world than a lot of America. And a lot of America
respects, when these kids, when the guy who’s the welder comes back to the high
school with his truck, and he’s already bought
his house at age 20, and he already has a good job
where he feels like a man, the kids in the high school notice. So that’s why I think ultimately the answer for the stigma is success. And part of that is government and part of that is the credentials. If the government’s telling you it’s not even worth it
for us to pay for it, that’s another big sign that says we don’t think this is valuable. And if you don’t… Like, I’m very interested in
these alternative credentials. You, these young people
are going to be able to put up on their wall their diploma. Well, if you could put your Siemens certification up on the wall and that had as much prestige in society as your four-year college degree… There’s things we can do
to add to the prestige. And you’re right, the culture
has to change around it. But there’s only so much
you can do with policy to change culture. But I think what you can
start to do with policy is change the what we pay, what they earn, and highlighting the success. It’s again, this is what happens in these communities. I mean, you hear again and again the guy who got the good job
comes back with his truck (chuckles) and everybody else can see,
like, look, he did well. I’m spacing McDonald’s and he’s already… Or I’m going to college
and going to be in debt, and probably drop out of
college, and look at him. He’s got a good job, and
his house, and his truck. So we haven’t solved the stigma problem. It’s a good challenge to remind us and reinforce that it’s a challenge. But I think the key
answer is not going to be sort of propaganda. It’s going to be success. (indistinct overlapping speaking) One follow-up and then
let me go to someone. – [Participant] It’s a
very materialistic answer to the problem of culture, so just suggesting there might be… There’s a whole other way to… – Well, a lot of other
people think about that, you know, should we
have public service ads, and should John Rowe go
on TV and talk about it, and should the president talk about it. Sure, sure the president
should talk about it. This president, actually, for all the awful other things he does, Ivanka does actually talk about it. Yes, but it’s still… For want of a better word
I’m calling propaganda is never going to be as
powerful as, I think, success. Let’s continue the
conversation because I see… I saw the fellow in the red shirt before. – I was wondering, it seems
like community colleges are the best people to fix
a lot of these problems. So how do you scale that? And there are two dynamics there. One is you want to avoid the bureaucracy in the ways that seem to
exist in the current system. And then secondly, you also want to keep encouraging innovation. And so if it’s top-down you
might stifle this innovation that’s occurring in the lower levels. – Really good question. And that’s what exciting, is there’s so much bottom-up innovation. And what we are going to see eventually is a little bit of a shake out, right, but we’re not there yet. We’re still at the thousand
flowers blooming stage. And so I don’t say, like, give all the money to community colleges. You know, if there’s a great bootcamp, or there’s employer willing to do it, or there’s some invention
we haven’t seen yet, encourage, encourage, encourage for now. But community colleges already get a lot of government money. And community colleges
have the infrastructure. Again, they’re already taking
care of 12 million students. They’re pretty cheap. Typical price at a community
college is $3,600 a year. They’re pretty good at educating adults. So I work a lot on… But a lot of them are still, in my view, too focused on a job
they don’t do very well, which is being the junior college. So they think… A lot of the professors
at community college, I hate to put on the professors, but would would rather
be teaching at Harvard, and they don’t want to teach welding. They want to prepare people for college. And the colleges, everybody’s
got this prestige, college is the prestige, so they all think we
should be teaching them… And 70% of the majors are studies, are majors that would lead
you to a four-year college. But here’s the really sad number. 85% of young people come
to community college saying they want to prepare
to transfer and get a B.A. 15% make it. So we’re just selling
them a bill of goods, and we’re not doing that job well. And so part of what my
big focus in these years is trying to move colleges away from that, community colleges. Like, don’t give up the
transfer focus totally. Sure, prepare the kids that are going to succeed
to transfer, to transfer. But you should take on much more robustly this role of really good post-secondary training for good jobs. And I’m not alone in that,
and we do it in various ways. But they sort of… The scale’s already there. All we have to do is turn
the ship a little bit. And again, not to give up… Not to give up the
transfer function totally, we still need some junior colleges, but not so much junior colleges, and more of this training. – [Participant] As well, too,
would you delve a little bit into the tactics of how you turn them? – Well, so, like we have… Let’s see, how do I do this
without getting really… So, we have a national working group. I have a working group that is educators from 12 of the best community colleges with the best programs, and what I kind of call boldface
names, education reformers, sort of famous people
that work in education. And we’re going to come up with a plan, and we’re going to present it. I do research. I actually have a
project where in one city I’m going to give them a
blueprint, in New York, give them a blueprint for
how they could do it better. So you go at it in various different ways. And I’m only one person
with a small organization but it’s kind of the way I think about it. Yes. – Yeah, so, given your past
focus on immigration policy I was curious more about
the immigration (mumbling). Given that there’s specific
problems and barriers to the immigration policy, our immigration population, adding to onto all the
stuff you you talked about are there any components of
a new job training program that address this? – Yeah, really good question. One of these innovations, again, there’s all these new widgets out there. It’s like a toy store of
all these new widgets. And one of the new widgets is that it used to be that if
you were an immigrant and didn’t speak English very well they first spend two years, three years, four years, five years, 10 years, trying to teach you English. And you’re working meanwhile, and you don’t have time for English, and you get bored with English
and you don’t come back, and your kids need your attention, you don’t come to English. And they never got the job training because they were going
to save the job training until you knew English. So they figured out 10 years ago and starting in Washington state, we should do the job training and the nursing training at the same time. And we should have two
instructors in the classroom, I mean the English ESL
and the nursing training, in the same classroom. And we’ll have two instructors
in the nursing classroom and we’ll teach them English
that they need for nursing and meanwhile, the nursing
instructor will be there and be teaching them nursing. So when they get enough
rudiments of English to go and be a nurse’s
assistant or whatever, and they get enough rudiments of nursing, they can do it at the same time. And they’ll probably stay
to the end of that course whereas they might not stay
to the end of the ESL course. And then you want them to go on, learn more English and learn more nursing. This is called integrated
ESL and career education, and it’s now very popular. And so that’s kind of one of the ways. I don’t have the number
right in front of me but it is something like,
at least, I think 20%. I don’t know, I don’t have the number. Maybe it’s between 15 and 20%
of community college students are first generation immigrants,
are first generation. So it’s a very… Community colleges are still about halfway but they’re very heavily students of color and there’s a lot of first
generation immigrants. So it’s big, it plays into it. Yes, let’s go here. – Hi. So, I wanted to go back to
the topic of apprenticeship and those key ingredients. Because I remember in our, my class with Professor Avishai we read this report from Deloitte about the skill gap in manufacturing jobs and there was a section about how with this certain age demographic there’s not really an appeal or interest towards going towards manufacturing jobs. And so I guess my question
(obscured by background noise) the trend I’ve been
seeing in specific sectors like the financial sector and medical and healthcare fields, there are a lot of identity-based leadership apprentice programs, for like race, gender, sexual identity, newly stuff like that. So I guess my question is, from your experience and
research do you think that if there’s more targeted programs in place to once he kind of feels
like from an early age, do you think that that is something that could be beneficial? Or is it something that still… – No, really good question. And it goes back to your question. It goes back to kind of the stigma. Who wants to work in a factory? And we think of factories
as dirty, dangerous, low level work. I mean, if you haven’t been to a modern advanced manufacturing
facility, you should go. Because modern advanced
manufacturing facilities, the machines look like those MRI machines. Like, there’s no dirt, there’s no grease. You’re programming, you’re
programming, you’re programming You’re not, like, turning
a wrench or getting dirty. So people don’t know what
manufacturing is like. And their parents did probably work in a manufacturing job,
lost a manufacturing job, felt like manufacturing
was not sustainable, felt like it wasn’t a good job. So manufacturing is tough. And we don’t know… Of course, manufacturing is sort of uneven future in America. So you certainly wouldn’t want
to train for manufacturing without also learning how to learn. That goes back to that
learn how to learn piece. You wouldn’t want to learn any of this without also learning how to learn, because it might be
automated in five minutes. But what you said is exactly right. The key is going early on. In elementary school,
everyone should get to go see an advanced manufacturing facility. And everyone should get to go see what really happens in a hospital. Because if your parents
either didn’t work, or my parents worked in offices, and if you don’t know
what else is out there you’re probably not going
to think about doing it. And so expanding in people’s horizon. So it starts when you’re
like in kindergarten, you go to the advanced
manufacturing facility. And then if you’re interested, when you’re in eighth grade you go and you spend a
week doing something. And then in the 12th grade you
get to go spend two months. And then by the time
you get out, you think, oh, this is really fun,
I’m going to do this. That’s another way to kind of
start to address some of the everybody’s focused… We all think that a white
collar job in an office is how we want to spend our lives. I hate to tell you, but when
I get out to these places I say, why didn’t I do this? This looks so much fun. (chuckling) You see also the smart people there. These are not jobs for dumb people. These are not jobs for
people who aren’t successful. You have to be really… When you’re working on a $3
million piece of machinery you have to be pretty responsible, you have to be problem solving, you have to be paying attention. And if more people could, people could go out and see what goes on, not just manufacturing
but a lot of these jobs. And then there is the… What you said was really
interesting about the stereotyping because one of the big middle skills, the biggest middle skill
field predicted for the future is healthcare. But boys don’t want to work in healthcare. So that’s another big problem. They’re called pink collar jobs, and young men don’t tend to want them. And so another big place
where have to overcome, work to overcome the
barriers of what people want. Yes, sir. – [Participant] You want to
motivate people to do stuff, you’ve got to pay them. If you pay them, they have status and people want the jobs. You pay people nothing when all the money’s at
the top of these factories, and they want these people
to work for nothing. Nobody wants those jobs. – So believe me, the demand
that every industry in America, almost, manufacturing, that
have middle skill jobs, are hemorrhaging for lack of workers. So if you ever talk to businesses they desperately need more of
these middle skill workers. And wages are going up. And wages are going up. – [Participant] But not fast enough. – Well, I mean, these are
not $15 an hour jobs, sir. I mean, welders, a good welder, like in industrial construction can make six figures, and can make a good HVAC
guy, and the right kind of… Healthcare’s tricky because Medicare kind of skews the pay scales. But these are not $15 an hour jobs. These are $28 an hour
jobs, $30 an hour jobs. These manufacturing
techs, when they get out, I think the average is
they start at 40k a year. That’s not 100k, but that’s start. And then they go up. It’s not uncommon in these
fields to hear the employers say you start 40, 50, 60, and you get to six figures by the time you’ve been there a few years. It’s not uncommon. These are not McDonald’s jobs. I mean, I’m sure the
wages could go up more. But that’s not really, I don’t think, the issue in these fields, mostly. Yes. – I noticed in the course
of your presentation that you mentioned, at a
number of different times, that men have some difficulties
in getting through this. And you’ve partially
focused on one specific one of a pink collar working. It’s potentially a controversial topic, but do you have thoughts
on why, say in general, say the mid-career men particularly have had more trouble than women? – I don’t. I mean, and I’ve… In my experience I’ve seen
mid-career men do well. This is a data driven statement. That was a data driven statement, not a… I think women… I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t think I want to go there. (chuckling) What I think it means for policy is we have to think about it harder. You do see in a lot of these… We were talking this
morning about J. D. Vance. Think about places where
factories have closed and a lot of people have lost work. You do see the women often being more resilient than the men. And the question, I think without being, sort of figuring out
the psychology of that, what I could think
about as a policy person is how do we account for,
how do we adjust for that, as opposed to… I mean, you have to explain it to but I’ll leave it to
someone else to explain it. But I have to think about, I mean, wage insurance, big thing. Bigger thing for a guy
take a big pay cut, maybe, than for a woman who
just says I need a job, I’ll take that job. I mean, I don’t know. Again, I want to be
careful of generalizing. But it’s more important to think about the policy
adjustments, I think. Woman next to you. – Yeah, so, I feel like,
anecdotally at least, there’s a certain subset
of college age young adults that are kind of teetering. They’re from those middle skill families and they’re teetering between decision of going to a university or
state school or something through financial aid,
loans, scholarships, or taking a reliable,
potentially middle skill job. Do you think that all… If you had the opportunity to go, even at the risk of dropping out or incurring a ton of debt that anybody who has the opportunity to get that bachelor’s should? Or do you think that
there’s a certain time you should choose a middle skill? – I think we should help
people make better decisions. I don’t think people should
be barred from trying. But I think we should help
people really think about it. It goes back to your
point about the prestige. Because right now people think if I don’t go and aim
for that B.A., I’m dirt, and so everybody wants a try. But there ought to be a
place where we start to say, well hey, look, if you
did this other thing that you’re actually pretty good at, and if you’ve already been exposed to it a little bit in high school, right, people might be making better choices. So I don’t think we should
bar people from trying. I don’t think we should ever have paths that don’t lead back. So that’s the point about
this stackability thing. If you decide to get trained and you then go to work in a blue collar, a middle skill job, and then in 10 years you decide well gee, I really want
that associate’s degree because I want to run the company, you should be able to come back. And what you learned in
the community college and on your job should count. You learned a lot on your job about how to handle yourself,
and how to be a manager, and how to keep the books,
all that kind of stuff. And you should be able
to get credit for that when you go back. So there should never be what I think of as a bridge to nowhere where all you do is you get that training and then you can’t go anywhere else. It should always come back
to something stackable. It’s one of these big
things we have to work on. And I think there might be limits… This is a very controversial thing to say. But I do think that there might be limits to how much the government, if you’re really failing at school, how much the government should
pay for you to be in school. You know, not right away,
but sort of down the road. And there are some limits to that. I think better navigation,
chances for everyone, chances to come back to
that B.A. route eventually, or beyond B.A. But better navigation and help for kids that are kind of lost. You all are very motivated. The kids in this room are very motivated. And they kind of knew what they want, and they knew they could get through, and they had people helping them. A lot of people go to college
and they kind of float around. They don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know what they’re taking, they’re paying through their nose, and then they end up with nothing. So, a lot of ways we can
help people without saying… Without tracking. Nobody thinks tracking is a good idea. Yeah. Okay, Bernie’s picking. Back in the back. – Hi. I’m just wondering if you
could speak a little bit about how location might
play into this issue, especially when we’re seeing such divide between some of the
places in middle America and then these growing almost super cities that will continue to rise. And how does location policy, relocation policy need to be mapped and to help people find… – I think a lot about this because we also think about regional and economic inequality. Quick fact on regional
economic inequality. I’m going to forget the number. 75% of the venture capital
invested in the last, I forget if it’s five years or 10 years, went to three states. California, New York, and Massachusetts. 75% of the capital. Like, how awful is that? No wonder cities are… Anyway, don’t get me started on that. So yes, region really matters. I don’t think… I’m skeptical of the answer that says move people out of regions because I think you start moving the best and brightest
people out of regions and the regions really
fall through the cracks, or fall down the drain. You take all the smart young people out of Erie, Pennsylvania, like, there’s going to be nothing
left in Erie, Pennsylvania. So I’m more for more
equitable and thoughtful regional economic development, but career education
has to feed into that, and again, in thoughtful ways. And that’s why you need
the employers involved. Because you don’t want
to be training people in Erie, Pennsylvania… Erie, Pennsylvania happens
to be one of these places that could be falling
down through the toilet and is actually doing pretty well because they’re sort of figuring
out how to deal with it. There was a big GE plant that left but they’re figuring
out how to cope with it. But you don’t want to train
for the GE plant anymore because there is no GE plant. So you need to find some of the employers that are coming in and
replacing the GE plant, what are they doing, and train for those jobs. So the career education really needs to be the other side of the coin of
regional economic planning. And that’s why you need employers and that’s why it needs to be… It used to just be whatever the guy at the community
college knew how to teach. And so you had some guy
at the community college, they’ve been teaching… Cosmetology is the famous one. People at the community
college teaching cosmetology when there weren’t any
cosmetology jobs anywhere. And they just kept teaching
it the same old way, over and over. It was in the course catalog
so you could get credit for it, and that person got paid, and it wasn’t useful because no one was learning
a job that mattered. So that’s where the employer
engagement comes in. It’s through the employer engagement and the regional economic planning that I think you try to
make this kind of engine of vitality in places. It’s a bigger topic. Good question. Yes, sir. – I was wondering because, so
like, now college in America, liberal arts colleges usually
teach you how to think more than a job process thing (obscured by background
noise) trade school. And should we… Should we all make
liberal arts fashionable and do it more like we’re
guiding people for that? So instead of giving
out grants for anyone, shouldn’t it be like Pell
Grants only for STEM people, and make job and regular training programs a requisite in school? And also, should we do only
Pell Grants for STEM major? Because I think it would get
rid of incentive for colleges to keep increasing the
price, tuition fees, because it would rid of
like grants maybe spent on people who majored in things
like music, or literature, or major in (obscured
by background noise). – Yeah, so, I mean, it’s still true that a four-year degree, and often a four-year liberal arts degree, is a ticket to the middle class. We don’t want to create any disincentives for four-year degrees. We still want people to
get four-year degrees. And it tends to be, in four-year degrees, I mean, I hate to say this but there’s a little more luxury for some of that exploration. You probably have time to take literature, and music, and whatever. You’re not keeping a family alive, and you’re not probably putting food on the table for anyone. I mean, I don’t know if you are, and excuse me if you are. But you’re not working a job at night. 70% of community college
students are working, either part-time or full-time. So they’re kind of in more of a hurry, and they have a little less of a luxury for the English, and the
history, and the whatever. I love the English, and the history, and the music, and the art I took. It really enriches my life. And you’re lucky that you have the luxury, really, of doing that. Not everybody does. And it doesn’t mean that it
shouldn’t be available to them. We should have that option open to people. But I think, again, if
we want to help them get to a good job fast, what I think job training should be should get to a first good job fast with the option of then
getting more educated later. And it doesn’t mean that
everyone should be STEM because not every good job
is necessarily STEM related. And you may become a lawyer and
then a Supreme Court justice and need no stem. So there’s lots of jobs
that don’t need stem. And… I was going to say
something else about that that I’ve forgotten now. Sorry, I just lost my track of mind, my thinking. I think the answer is that you want to… I’m sorry, let me just
think about it for a minute because there’s something
you said early on actually sparked something
I was going to start to say and now I’ve totally forgotten it. – [Participant] Something
about only funding… – Well, no, no, and I think the funding should be… The funding should be… It shouldn’t all be about… It should not all be about STEM, it should not all be about workplace. Oh, but the other key thing, and this goes back to
our friend here at FAME. She is only spending 1/3 of her time learning a technical skill. She is spending 2/3 of her time learning stuff that she could use if she eventually ended up in your slot and went on to a different kind of job. And so it’s really, really important that it not just be technical. If we just start teaching
them technical skills I guarantee you that that
machine she’s working on, however much it costs now, is going to be worth nothing in 10 years because we’re going to
have a better machine. And so she has to learn much more than how to use that machine. She has to learn how to
think, and problem solve, and be responsible for
her life, and have agency. And the stuff that you’re
learning by analyzing– by writing papers. You’re learning how to
have analytic skills by writing a paper about Chaucer or whatever you write papers on. She’s learning how to have analytic skills by figuring out how to solve the problem that’s wrong with that machine. And that’s the key thing for everyone. That’s where the commonality is, that problem solving, and
learning how to learn, and critical thinking that
we all need, but we might… I found it easier to learn that writing papers about Shakespeare. She finds it easier to learn
problem solving that machine. That’s the key. – My question was–
– Can I just… – [Participant] It’s a
short one, I guess short. – Well, that’s right, and
then we’ll have one more from someone else, maybe. – [Participant] In my
country we have something like vocational training
during school also. Should colleges here have
to have a requisite class that makes people take… – Well, I think everyone, starting in very much
younger, before college, should have to try some jobs. Everybody should have to have
an internship in high school, in my view. Everyone in middle school should get to go see some other jobs. And I don’t know if everyone
in college should have, but everyone in college should
have some career exposure. You should start people to start thinking what are you going to do in life. Again, my niece, she
had the best education money could buy in America. Every private school, every leadership training,
Ivy League college. And at the end she came
to me and she said, I don’t know if I should
go on in Chinese or math. And I said, Jane, that’s
just not the question. Do you want to work in an office? Do you want to work with people? Do you want to help people? Do you want to work inside,
do you want to work outside? Do you like machines? Like, what do you really
want to do in life? And I think we need to
help all young people think a little more about that. And you can’t always know, right, but start to think
about what am I good at, what do I actually think is fun. I might not have been a
white collar lecturer. I might be doing something
totally different. So one more question. – I’ve been sort of derelict in my duty. You can tell by the way this has been done because most people here have something to do at 6:00 o’clock. And I’ve been sort of derelict. I should have called this
meeting about 10 minutes ago. But there were so many good questions and so much to say. And you’ll all have to applaud for the people who’ve
had to leave as well. (audience applauding) – Thank you very much. Thank you for you interest
and for your good questions.

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