This chapter lays out some of the central questions policymakers should ask when considering plans to leverage online education for economically vulnerable mid-career Americans, as well as the state of the evidence surrounding those questions. In short, existing research provides little clear evidence of successful models of online education for academically weaker students, suggesting that policymakers should proceed with caution.
Since 1980, college-educated workers have been steadily moving into affluent cities while non-college workers have been moving out. At the core of understanding why non-college workers (defined by author David Autor as workers without a bachelor's degree) are no longer flocking to the cities is the question of push versus pull.
The pursuit of economic opportunity for all Americans is as important to the health of the country’s economy as it is to the strength of its democracy. The promise that hard work and determination will yield economic success is a central American ideal, but it has been called into question as secular economic forces and institutional changes have reshaped the American economy and had an uneven impact on Americans’ ability to prosper.
Career and technical education (CTE) is widely viewed as an important alternative to traditional four-year colleges, a means of increasing the earnings of U.S.workers, and an effective response to the changing skill requirements of U.S. employers. While abundant evidence confirms that CTE offerings at public institutions can increase the earnings and employment rates of graduates, substantial barriers to successful expansion of high-quality CTE remain.
The Economic Strategy Group's third annual policy volume focuses on the economics of the middle class, geographic disparities in economic opportunity, and U.S. policy options to address climate change.
This proposal recognizes the simultaneous need for more college educated workers and also for a higher level of labor market skill among non-college educated individuals. The authors propose to invest in the upskilling of the American workplace by better leveraging the potential of the community college sector.
Over the course of the past year, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are presented here.