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A look at local efforts to improve job training

Workforce Development Politics

Civic Capacity and Performance

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edited by Robert P. Giloth

"Why can't a local coalition of civic leaders be assembled to transform lackluster second chance workforce programs into high performing workforce development investments, just as they mobilized, time and again, to build a new sports stadium, or make a bid to host the Olympics? The payoffs for creating a competitive workforce seem obvious: competitive firms, productive workers, a higher tax base, and more attractive and competitive regions."
from the Introduction

If 88% of Americans believe that education and training resources should be available to the jobless and more than two-thirds of employers have identified workforce and skills shortages as top priorities, why aren't we, as a society, able to provide that training in such a way that it leads to long-term economic security? This book looks at the politics of local and regional workforce development: the ways politicians and others concerned with the workforce systems have helped or hindered that process. Contributors examine the current systems that are in place in these cities and the potential for systemic reform through case studies of Denver, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle.

Published in association with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"Bob Giloth and his colleagues demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of investing in human capital. What makes Giloth's reflections particularly useful are the connections he draws between the development of an active civic culture, grassroots leadership, and the long-term success of job training initiatives such as Project QUEST in San Antonio."
Ernesto Cortes, Jr., Industrial Areas Foundation

"Workforce Development Politics offers a penetrating view of community struggles to eradicate entrenched poverty and to enhance the pool of skilled labor. Searching for the magical elixir that makes local coalitions of diverse interests succeed, this masterful work would fascinate Tocqueville and will inspire those searching for win-win solutions to the problems of the American political economy."
Cathie Jo Martin, Professor of Political Science, Boston University

"This is an exciting project, and a welcome departure from the current state of workforce development research. It sets as its focus the 'urban workforce system,' a concept that resonates strongly with currents within workforce development policy and practice that emphasize regional economies, intersecting patterns of labor market segmentation, the role of diverse labor market intermediaries, and issues of system governance. The group of contributors is top-notch, and the cases are of wide interest."
Nik Theodore, Director, Center for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois at Chicago

"...explores the challenges of five different cities (Denver, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Seattle and St. Louis) in developing an effective workforce development system. What becomes apparent in reading these case studies is the uniqueness of each political environment and how challenging it is to develop coherent workforce development policies.... a welcome addition to any community economic development bookshelf and should be read by practitioners, technical support providers and funders interested in responding to the challenges surrounding low-wage jobs."
Shelterforce Online

"The case studies in this book can and should inspire local city and neighborhood planners to look for ways to invest in human capital as part of their community development plans."
Journal of the American Planning Association

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Contents

1. The "Local" in Workforce Development Politics: An Introduction – Robert P. Giloth
2. The Politics of Workforce Development: Constructing a Performance Regime in Denver – Susan E. Clarke
3. Ecologies of Workforce Development in Milwaukee – Archon Fung and Scott Zdrazil
4. Workforce Systems Change in a Politically Fragmented Environment – David W. Bartelt
5. Workforce Systems Change in Seattle – Steven Rathgeb Smith and Susan Davis
6. Workforce Development Policy in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region: A Critical Overview and Assessment – Scott Cummings, Robert Flack, and Allan Tomey
7. Comparative Local Workforce Politics in Six Cities: Theory and Action – Robert P. Giloth
8. Poverty and the Workforce Challenge – Clarence Stone and Donn Worgs

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About the Author(s)

Robert P. Giloth, Ph.D. is Director of the Family Economic Success area of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in December 1994, he managed community development corporations in Baltimore and Chicago and was Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development under Mayor Harold Washington.

Subject Categories

Political Science and Public Policy
Labor Studies and Work
Urban Studies

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