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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 12, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 25
New book looks at preparing workforce for labor turmoil

By Kevin Sottak
Institute for Policy Studies

The U.S. labor market has seen changes over the past few decades, and further turmoil is expected as the population ages and immigration and the move to offshore jobs continue.

A new Urban Institute Press book says that policies promoting education and skill development among American workers will be crucial in responding to shocks buffeting the U.S. workforce.

In Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy, a host of labor market experts forecasts the labor market's future and investigates the policy options to counteract any significant workforce tremors. The book is edited by Harry J. Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University and visiting fellow at the Urban Institute, and Demetra Smith Nightingale, a principal research scientist at Johns Hopkins' Institute for Policy Studies and senior research consultant at the Urban Institute.

"If a growing demand for skilled labor is not matched by a comparable trend in supply, then labor market inequality will likely continue to grow in the United States," write Holzer and Nightingale. "And, while labor markets will respond to these developments with a variety of adjustments ... output and productivity growth might be constrained by a relative dearth of skilled workers."

The new volume addresses many timely policy questions. How, for example, can public policy help meet employer needs for different types of workers? What ways are available to encourage education and training, especially options that require fewer public resources? How can we make sure that new education and training opportunities are equitable? What must be done beyond public policy to raise the supply of appropriately educated and skilled workers?

Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy is available from the Urban Institute Press at, 202-261-5687 or 877-847-7377.

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic and governance challenges facing the nation.


Discussion on 'Reshaping the American Workforce'

A policy discussion based on Holzer and Nightingale's book will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, in room 500 of the university's Bernstein Offit Building in Washington, D.C. For planning purposes, please RSVP to Mildred Woodhouse of the Urban Institute at or 202-261-5576. The events are as follows:

Welcome. Sandra Newman, director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies

"Today's Workforce Challenges." Harry Holzer, Georgetown University and the Urban Institute; and Demetra Nightingale, Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies

"Reactions: Legislative and Program Implications." Beth Buehlmann, minority education policy director, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Bill Kamela, majority staff director, Subcommittee on Employment and Workforce Safety, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Evelyn Ganzglass, Center for Law and Social Policy; and Ronald Haskins, Brookings Institution and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The research on which this book is based was supported by a grant from the Joyce Foundation.


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