Building the Workforce

Special Guests: Robert L. Bixby, Dr. Robert Lerman

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On Facing the Future, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby and Urban Institute Fellow Dr. Robert Lerman joined me to discuss Dr. Lerman’s recent publication focused on workforce development that also increases economic growth, “Training for Jobs of the Future: Improving Access, Certifying Skills, and Expanding Apprenticeship.” The paper is one of five being utilized for Concord’s fiscally responsible economic growth agenda.


Lerman said the state of the economy is relatively good, with low unemployment and steady growth, but some segments of the workforce are not doing as well as others. He said, broadly speaking, there is a mismatch between the skills that people have and the skills that are in demand.

The paper is an attempt to tackle “the problems that have been arising in our limited efforts to provide high-quality training and skill development for the workforce,” Lerman said. “A lot of our efforts have been misplaced, and what we are trying to do is improve the way public policy intervention connects people to quality careers.”

Lerman explained that the paper proposed three major areas of focus with regard to workforce development and investment:1) Improving access to in-demand training; 2) Strengthening the connection between career and technical education and employer needs with competency-based training; and 3) Building a more robust apprenticeship system.

Bixby joined the show to provide an update on the Fiscal 2020 federal appropriations process, which has finally come to an end, well after the October 1 start of the fiscal year. Congressional leaders reached a deal on higher spending allocations and tacked on over $400 billion of tax cuts, which Bixby said was a fiscally irresponsible combination.You can also read more of his take in Concord’s press release on the issue.

Facing the Future will once again be fielding your fiscal-policy related questions. In January, we will dedicate a show to your thoughts, concerns, queries and suggestions on what topics we should cover in more detail in 2020.

Take a moment during the next couple weeks to share your questions on the show’s Facebook page (@FacingTheFuturePodcast), reach out via our website ( or email me directly ([email protected]).

Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.

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