Learning to be Useful

Amid debates over mobility, economic stagnation, “living wages,” and persistent unemployment, one of today’s economic paradoxes is that there are hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that employers cannot fill—because they require “middle” level skills that are presently in serious shortage.

Philanthropists have been successful in recent years in helping struggling populations qualify for entry-level jobs.

Philanthropists driving the school-reform movement have been crucial in making four-year college a reachable goal for more young people than ever.

Now there is a yawning opportunity for philanthropists to open paths between those two poles. Through community college, apprenticeships, intensive credential training, practical internships, and other means, workers can gain valuable skills in computer programming, lab-technician work, machine tooling, customer service, medical assisting positions, and other such jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, but are too skilled for entry-level employees.

Philanthropists are already connecting educators, nonprofits, and companies, and funneling young people and low-wage adult workers into job training. If expanded, this assistance has the potential to move millions of Americans firmly into the middle class. It can also resolve occupational bottlenecks that are crippling manufacturers, ­­­health-care providers, and service companies that want to expand but lack adequate “middle-skill” employees.

If you are a donor who wants to bolster America’s workforce, this practical book will show you how.

Learning to be Useful

A Wise Giver’s Guide to Supporting Career and Technical Education

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