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These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Anthony Carnevale, professor and director of the Georgetown University
Center on Education and the Workforce

America is ill prepared for the majority minority workforce projected by 2042
May 1, 2015
 

Overview

By 2042, the workforce will be majority minority, according to Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University. But he says we are doing nothing to prepare for the huge skill problem that transition will cause. We are not adequately preparing large numbers of African Americans, Hispanics, immigrants and low-income people for that new economy. In fact, he says, there is a growing stratification between higher income kids who've been raised in affluent neighborhoods and attended the "right" schools and those who haven't had those opportunities. The share of white students at elite colleges keeps increasing, relative to their share of the population, while minorities are more and more concentrated in two-year colleges and open admission colleges, where the outcomes are not as good.

Yet Carnevale points out that we spend over $1 trillion a year on the American system for human capital development. Beyond the $600 billion we spend on K-12 education, we spend $450 to $490 billion for postsecondary education and $415 billion to $515 billion for formal employee training and informal on-the-job learning.

Does the economy get enough of the skills it needs to justify this spending? Using the example of computer-based skills, Carnevale explains how employers first had to buy computer skill, because it wasn't available in schools in any sufficient quantity. As the demand for the skill continued to grow, training was passed back into the education system. But educational institutions have not responded quickly enough, he points out, so technology change has far outpaced our ability to respond on the skills side.

In the 1970s, 75 percent of workers had high school diplomas or less and were able to advance through on-the-job training. But in 1983, Carnevale says, there was a restructuring of the economy and employers started looking for higher skill levels in their entry-level employees. He contends that by 2018, 70 percent of the jobs in Minnesota will require some level of postsecondary education. While this forecast has generated some controversy, Carnevale stands by it, explaining that his measure of need for postsecondary education is whether workers can earn a living wage without it. He argues that they cannot.

For the complete interview summary see: Carnevale interview

Response Summary: Readers rated these statements about the topic and about points discussed during the meeting, on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

3. Despite investments, skills lacking. The nation's enormous investment in human capital development, despite major contributions from both education institutions and employers, is not providing enough workers with needed skills.

4. Skills lag changes in technology. Workforce quality is threatened because workers' skills aren't being upgraded fast enough to keep pace with changes in technology.

5. Learning priorities an unresolved problem. Conflict and confusion among students, parents, educators and employers about the relative need for applied learning versus general learning remains a serious impediment to resolving the human capital deficit.

6. Business, education cultures clash. Cultures of business and education often clash because educators have a strong allegiance to the noneconomic value of education.

7. Value competencies acquired, not diplomas. More attention must be given to whether graduates are certified as competent both in their respective fields and in the "soft" skills needed for workplace success, not simply to whether they hold certain diplomas.

8. Minorities hurt by inferior education. Many workers of present-day minority populations, which will form a majority of the nationís workforce within a quarter century, are failing to succeed in the workplace because they donít have the same educational opportunities as workers from wealthier neighborhoods who have gone to better primary and secondary schools and are able as a result to attend more elite colleges.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

0%

0%

67%

33%

6

2. Further study warranted.

0%

0%

17%

50%

33%

6

3. Despite investments, skills lacking.

0%

0%

0%

67%

33%

6

4. Skills lag changes in technology.

0%

0%

17%

67%

17%

6

5. Learning priorities an unresolved problem.

0%

0%

17%

33%

50%

6

6. Business, education cultures clash.

0%

0%

0%

67%

33%

6

7. Value competencies acquired, not diplomas.

0%

0%

0%

50%

50%

6

8. Minorities hurt by inferior education.

17%

0%

17%

50%

17%

6

Individual Responses:

Bert LeMunyon (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10) (5)
8. Minorities hurt by inferior education. There is time to adjust to a minority/majority workforce. This is a change that is gradually coming about, not a quantum leap.

Dennis Carlson (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (10) (10)
1. Topic is of value. The Civic Caucus has done a great job of lining up great speakers on current relevant topics.

2. Further study warranted. This is a really tough issue to make rapid progress on.

3. Despite investments, skills lacking. The other problem is rapidly rising poverty plus a lack of access to good schools - particularly for minority students. Zip codes are still a great indicator of quality schools. I just came back from Upstate New York; the same is true there. High property wealth = good schools. Low property wealth = poor schools.

4. Skills lag changes in technology. The private sector bears most of this responsibility. Most schools just do not have the financial capacity to provide current technology equipment and supplies to every student. There is no funding stream for technology other than local levies, which now rely on high property wealth to pass.

5. Learning priorities an unresolved problem. This is the toughest one to deal with. Changing mindsets around this issue is very hard. That is why this topic and discussion is so important.

6. Business, education cultures clash. School districts need to have regular communication with their local Chamber of Commerce, business leaders, and community colleges to ensure relevant curriculum and current technology skill development. I think the statement "educators have a strong allegiance to non-economic value of education" is more true at the college level than the high school level. High schools are starting to get it.

7. Value competencies acquired, not diplomas. I think soft skills and multiple intelligence competency tests are critically needed and vastly underrated. There is, in fact, more to education than math and science. Where does innovation and creativity come from? Music, the fine arts, and they are also needed to enhance the quality of life.

8. Minorities hurt by inferior education. Just look at this legislative session: Inadequate funding for higher ed, K-12 education, early childhood programs, quality child care, and now - universal preschool has just been dropped as a goal by the Governor. Changing the mindset of our elected officials on the importance of this issue will be difficult in this "no new taxes" environment.

David Dillon (10) (10) (10) (5) (5) (10) (10) (0)
8. Minorities hurt by inferior education. This seems like a surface truth statement with a tense (don't vs. didn't) problem. Better schools? What is a better school? The circular logic, of course, is the school with better economic outcomes for students. Of course minorities are hurt by inferior education. I wonder more about why these schools seem to be resistant to improvement.

Chuck Lutz (7) (6) (8) (9) (8) (7) (9) (9)

Arvonne Fraser (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)
It offends me deeply to talk about people as human capital and think education is only for employment. It would be more satisfying if employers stepped forward, as they will have to, and were willing to help solve the problem that is basically inequality and its side effects.

Terry Stone (9) (5) (9) (8) (10) (10) (9) (8)

Paul Hauge (8) (7) (9) (9) (9) (9) (9) (8)
 

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The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

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