Encouraging Workforce Development in the Gulf States
Economic development depends on a trained work force. As Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama seek to expand their economies, employers will require highly literate workers with advanced technical skills. Businesses, factories, and other organizations that need workers must collaborate with local and regional high schools, colleges, and vocational institutions that train workers to ensure the right match between available jobs and applicants.
These nascent partners will require data and information as they forge new ways of working together and nurture a workforce for today and the future. Their success will mean improved educational and economic outcomes, as well as improved prosperity and quality of life for workers themselves.
RAND has conducted extensive research on vocational and continuing education in the United States and overseas, as well as K-12 education in the United States, as well as the role of education in workforce development.
Augmenting Skills of Current Workers: Vocational and Continuing Education
From the military to high-tech industries, the need for vocational education and training continues to rise. RAND has explored topics from how to encourage young adults to continue their education, to how to determine the appropriate mix of classroom and on-the-job training.
Young people making the transition from school to work face a very different world of work than their parents' generation. Policies that better coordinate educational and occupational institutions can improve the capacity of individuals to make effective transitions.
A cost-benefit analysis conducted for the US Air Force helped to determine the most cost-effective combination of initial skills training (IST) and on-the-job training (OJT), taking into consideration how productivity changes when IST course length changes.
Based on a case study sample from seven states and a national teacher survey, it is clear that the Vocational and Technical Education Act is having some positive affect but only within the framework of the greater influence of the individual states' general-education policies.
The tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut remains strong in biotechnology and IT, but improved networking between industry and higher education institutions can help attract technical professionals.
The United States takes a market-based approach to workforce development, which has its benefits as well as its challenges. A review of this approach considers supply and demand for skills and concludes with a set of policy options for improving the market for workforce development.
Developing 21st Century Skills: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
STEM is the current trend in U.S. education, as high schools and colleges seek to prepare the next generation workforce. RAND research explores what skills are most needed to meet future human capital challenges, and how the development of these skills can be encouraged.
An assessment of skills test score differentials between the first and last year of college shows the degree to which college enrollment and education add to students' critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.
England reformed its elementary math curriculum in 1999 to improve educational outcomes. Evaluations of the reforms were generally positive, but the evidence of success and value for money was more difficult to confirm.
Education and labor market initiatives are under way in four Arab nations -- Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates -- to address the challenges of developing the human capital of their populations for the 21st century global economy, though better evaluation of the implemented reforms will be needed to determine their efficacy.
An inflow of foreign students in the sciences -- as well as scientists and engineers from overseas -- has helped the United States build and maintain its worldwide lead in science and technology.
U.S. high-tech exports still lead the world by a large margin. U.S. manufacturing activities that have remained in the United States tend to be the most advanced and complex, which brings into focus the key problem of education and employment issues, particularly on the fields of science and engineering.
Preparing Tomorrow's Workers and Leaders: K-12 Education
Early childhood and K-12 education are the foundation on which future workforce development depend. They are also a key focus of RAND Education and RAND Labor and Population; our researchers work across geographic boundaries examining issues in the United States and around the world.
In the area of K–12 education, RAND Education partners with policymakers, school systems, practitioners, and other stakeholders to help improve education outcomes and systems and to increase access and equity.
In her testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia's Committee of the Whole, RAND Education researcher Lynn Karoly explained how providing high-quality learning opportunities for children in the P–3 years (preschool through third grade) can help to close "school readiness" gaps, build developmental skills, and better prepare them for success in school.
In 2002, Qatar began implementing a standards-based K–12 reform built on four principles: autonomy, accountability, variety, and choice. Early data reveal more student-centered classroom practices and higher student achievement, but many challenges remain.
The New York City Department of Education's test-based promotion and retention policy, which identifies and provides support for struggling students, has demonstrated positive effects for student achievement in fifth grade that continue into seventh grade.
An examination of the role of education and training in economic performance focuses on the long-run and international perspective of economic trends and education to present data on productivity and competitiveness and the contribution of education to economic growth.