This is a good read on the employment landscape. But a few quick thoughts. I’m not sure anyone would disagree that we need programs designed to help individuals find more meaningful employment. But I also think it needs to be stated that I believe this White House proposal came from a TV reality show. And pardon me for being cynical, but I am doubtful a reality TV show will work in real life. Even worse, this proposal cuts funds from programs that have proven track records.
In any event, Thoma asks great questions: is there a skills gap or something else? I am under the impression there is not a skills gap because there are plenty of individuals with advanced degrees and special skills that can do jobs. The problem is firms refuse to hire these people at a respectable wage. I believe that over time this problem will work itself out. Workers will voluntarily move to new locations and firms will raise their wages.
That said, if the government wants to spend money to train people, I will not be too critical as this is a reasonable use of taxpayer dollars. Although, a better solution might be to use this money to fund education and offer more scholarships and grant money so that more individuals can get better degrees and improve their skills.