Moving Up in the New Economy: Career Ladders for U.S. Workers
"The United States used to be a country where ordinary people could expect to improve their economic condition as they moved through life. For millions of us, this is no longer the case. Many Americans today have a lower standard of living as adults than they had in their parents' homes as children.... This book is about restoring the upward mobility of U.S. workers. Specifically, it addresses the workforce-development strategy of creating not just jobs, but career ladders."--from Moving Up in the New Economy
Career-ladder strategies create opportunities for low-wage workers to learn new skills and advance through a progression of higher-skilled and better-paid jobs. For example, nurses' aides can become licensed practical nurses, administrative assistants can become information technology workers, and bank tellers can become loan officers.
Career-ladder programs could provide opportunities for upward mobility and also stave off impending national shortages of skilled workers. But there are a variety of obstacles that must be faced candidly if career-ladder programs are to succeed. In Moving Up in the New Economy, Joan Fitzgerald explores specific programs in different sectors of the economy--health care, child care, education, manufacturing, and biotechnology--to offer a comprehensive analysis of this innovative approach to job training. Addressing the successes achieved--and the problems faced--by career-ladder programs, this timely book will be of interest to anyone interested in career development, workforce training, and employment issues, especially those that affect low-wage workers.
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About the Author
Joan Fitzgerald is Associate Professor and Director of the Law, Policy, and Society Program at Northeastern University. She is coauthor of Economic Revitalization: Cases and Strategies for City and Suburb.
"Joan Fitzgerald's Moving Up in the New Economy is a must-read for policy-makers and scholars seeking solutions to the problems of low-wage work, precarious employment, and dead-end jobs in today's labor market. Fitzgerald demonstrates that employers and policy-makers can create career ladders that would enable those who enter the labor market at the bottom to gain the skills, training, credentials, and experience to move up and out of the low-wage cycle. The book describes, in detail, a cornucopia of programs, organizations, intermediaries, and initiatives that are creating career ladders in the fields of health care, child care, education, biotechnology, and manufacturing. For activists, policy-makers, and employers, the wealth of evidence provides a much-needed guide for the creation of pathways of mobility in the new workplace."--Katherine V. W. Stone, UCLA, author of From Widgets to Digits: Employment Regulation for the Changing Workplace
"The growth of low-wage employment, in services and in manufacturing, is a central challenge facing labor-market policy. It is not enough to simply provide more employee training; the nature of labor demand needs to be addressed. Moving Up in the New Economy provides a comprehensive and sophisticated overview and analysis of a key demand-side strategy: career ladders. This is an important book for anyone concerned about strategies to create a more equitable job market."--Paul Osterman, MIT Sloan School
"This excellent volume highlights the challenges and the struggles of millions of families across America today. In coping with the vast changes taking place at warp speed in our modern, newly global economy, meeting these challenges effectively is one of the highest priorities confronting the nation and every American. Joan Fitzgerald proposes ideas and approaches to open up new opportunities in many different industries, and her thoughtful analysis offers valuable insights to improve the lives of working Americans."
"What are the prospects for the working poor to achieve upward mobility? Finding better jobs is essential to their well-being, particularly with the shrinkage of the safety net. In this important book, we learn that innovative practices in manufacturing and the service sector are making it possible for low-wage workers to move up. This book is an essential guide to the ways in which the work world can provide opportunity and reward hard work, even for those whose entry point into the labor market is through a bad job. There is hope after hamburger flipping!"--Katherine S. Newman, Forbes '41 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of Chutes and Ladders: Navigating the Low Wage Labor Market