The Public Interest

Doing it right: job training and education

James J. Heckman

Spring 1999

THERE has of late been much hand wringing over what to do about the emerging new labor market, in which the real wages of high-skilled, well-educated workers have increased, while the real wages of low-skilled and poorly educated workers have decreased. Unless something is done soon about this growing inequality, argue politicians and pundits, serious political and social consequences will follow. The solution favored by most is actually an old one—policies and programs that will supposedly help Americas unskilled workers gain socially productive skills. It is further thought that increasing the supply of skilled workers will help to dampen the rising wage gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Indeed, most recent welfare reforms simply assume that adult-job-training programs can give participants the necessary skills to take advantage of the growing number of high-skilled jobs.

Download a PDF of the full article.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.