The Job

By Paul Fain

A weekly newsletter about connections between education and the American workforce. Get a veteran journalist’s take on what to watch as postsecondary education and job training systems work to better serve lower-income learners and workers.

A weekly newsletter about connections between education and the American workforce. Get a veteran journalist’s take on what to watch as postsecondary education and job training systems work to better serve lower-income learners and workers.

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The Job: Modernizing Apprenticeships

Raytheon Technologies rolled out the country’s first ever industry-recognized apprenticeship program in October 2020—a move hailed by the administration at the time as a major milestone in expanding apprenticeships and creating more job opportunities for Amer…


The Job: Bastion of Bipartisanship

Workforce education is far from a big-ticket political topic in a nation that will remain deeply divided after a predicted red wave turned out to be a “messy puddle.” And the issue's relative obscurity has helped it avoid the sort of hyperpartisan battling th…


The Job: Re-Engaging Students

The sustained slide of U.S. college enrollments has added urgency to various efforts to re-enroll students who left college before earning a credential. This group tends to struggle in the job market and in repaying their student loans. Beyond colleges, state…


The Job: Performance Funding

Completion may no longer be the name of the game when it comes to state funding. For the past decade, it was. Just about every state rolled out a college attainment goal, and about 40 implemented some form of performance-based funding with enrollment, retenti…


The Job: Blurred Boundaries

Companies in Jacksonville, Fla., have been begging for more hires with the tech skills to hit the ground running. But four-year degree programs too often fail to deliver the training needed by local employers in the banking, insurance, and healthcare industri…


The Job: Ladder Economics

As the Biden administration and state governments roll out targeted new funding for workforce education projects, some community colleges are sharing intel to try to maximize the impact of those grants.The Community College Workforce Consortium is a group of …


The Job: Credentials of Value

As many as one in six Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are sitting out of both college and work, with college enrollments tumbling by 1.4M during the pandemic while more than 10M jobs remain unfilled.Yet young people also remain skeptical of noncollege…


The Job: College Alternatives

The Marcy Lab School may be the nation’s only legit alternative to a traditional four-year college.Located in Brooklyn, the school offers a one-year, full-time fellowship in software engineering to recent high school graduates. It combines a liberal arts curr…


The Job: Opening Doors

Ads began airing nationwide yesterday that urge employers and everyday Americans to “tear up the paper ceiling” and focus less on bachelor’s degrees when it comes to hiring and getting ahead.The campaign from Opportunity@Work and the Ad Council was announced …


The Job: Social Capital

Social capital theory is having a moment, with new data and growing awareness about its importance for students as they make the jump from college to career.As a result, several intermediary groups that focus on helping college students and working adults bui…


The Job: Online and Stackable

Companies appear to be more interested in hiring workers without college degrees for high-demand fields. That could be a good thing, depending on your perspective.Yet tracking is a concern, as many of the nation’s biggest labor crunches are for lower-wage rol…


The Job: Innovation at Scale

Many of the training providers featured in this newsletter are small, nascent experiments. They often enroll a few hundred students at most but feature an approach experts say is worth watching.Bitwise Industries doesn’t fit that mold. During the last nine ye…


The Job: Tech Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in tech roles remain rare—just 4,100 active apprentices worked in tech last fall, according to federal data, roughly 1 percent of the total 366K apprentices in the U.S. at that time. But they’ve been growing fast, with the hot labor market dri…


The Job: Nondegree Pathways

Healthcare is among the industries that are struggling most with labor shortages amid the hot job market. Nursing gets the most attention, for good reason. Some hospitals have paid travel nurses up to $10K per week to shore up their ranks. But burnout and ret…


The Job: Career Visibility

Demand for workers in this industry is so insatiable that recent graduates with an associate degree often earn $100K per year. Even a one-year certificate can lead to a $60K job and, after a couple years of on-the-job training, a six-figure wage.The job itsel…


The Job: Career Navigation

As the online education market continues to shift, strong student demand and low tuition rates may not be enough to get good results for credential programs aimed at working learners.To help ensure that students complete and see an adequate return for their e…


The Job: Public-Private Partnerships

For short-term credentials to have the best chance of paying off for students, an emerging view holds that they need to be heavily subsidized—ideally free, with funding from employers or foundations if government support isn’t there—while offering connections…


The Job: Policy Trade-Offs

The college degree remains the surest ticket to a living wage and a rewarding career. But deep public skepticism—from both sides of the political spectrum—about the value of higher education and its relation to a labor market that most people think is rigged …


The Job: Federal Policy

More than half of U.S. employers offer education benefits to their workers. And amid a tight labor market, a growing number of big companies are using free college programs to help attract and retain employees.Roughly 1.2M workers received education benefits …


The Job: Financing Training

As income-share agreements are becoming toxic amid unflattering headlines and regulatory pressure, outcomes-based loans appear to be on the rise.The nonprofit Social Finance has used this form of lending as part of its mix of $350M in investments since launch…