The Job Training Charade

The Job Training Charade

Cowinner of the C. Wright Mills Award (Society for the Study of Social Problems)

Job training has long been promoted as a central policy response to poverty and unemployment. Both Democrats and Republicans have trumpeted training as the answer to everything from welfare to NAFTA. The Job Training Charade provides a comprehensive critique showing that training has been a near-total failure. Even more dramatically, the book shows how politicians have ignored repeated reports of the program’s failure, and have kept funding a policy they know cannot work.

Gordon Lafer first examines the economic assumptions and track record of training policy. He goes on to provide a political analysis of why job training has remained so popular despite widespread evidence of its economic failure. The author concludes that job training functions less as an economic prescription aimed at solving poverty than as a political strategy aimed at managing the popular response to economic distress.

The Job Training Charade is a landmark book showing how a bipartisan consensus may coalesce behind a phantom policy that serves political needs while ignoring economic realities.