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Training: A Targeted Policy Proposal - page 6 / 23





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period while labor demand remains weak. The indirect cost of training in terms of lost earnings is thus likely to be smaller than in the context of a stronger job market.

The focus of the downturn in the construction sector, notably in residential construction, hit especially hard at men with modest educational attainment and relatively little technologyrelated skills. Construction workers displaced by the housing bust are likely to find that their skills are not in demand even in the recovery, because the overhang of vacant and foreclosed homes means that residential construction will continue to lag. Manufacturing employment has begun to recover somewhat, but many manufacturing workers are likely to find that gains in productivity mean that hiring in the sector lags behind the demand recovery. In addition, the future earnings of displaced manufacturing and construction workers forced to shift into other occupations is not likely to come close to what they had before. Their earnings before the recession were on average greater than would be expected from their skills—they earned an industry premium—and they have now lost this. Adjustment into lowskilled occupations is likely to be especially demoralizing for these workers.


Overview of Existing Training Programs for Adult Workers

A variety of programs funded by both the federal and state governments provide job training for adult workers (major programs are summarized in Table 1, below). While funding for these programs comes from several different sources, many of these programs provide similar sets of services and often refer participants to each other, making it difficult to identify exactly how many unique individuals receive government funded training.2

The main federal government job training program is the Workforce Investment Act or WIA program, administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). Two parts of WIA provide training for adults: the adult worker program, which provides training services to individuals over 18 who have been classified as economically disadvantaged; and the dislocated worker program, which provides services to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their


GAO (2011) details the overlap among federal employment and training programs.


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