With the loss of more than 5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. since 2000, and little improvement in wages over the past decade, the working class is demanding that the government take action to improve employment prospects. Conversations about policies to help displaced workers have largely focused on big-picture solutions such as renegotiating trade deals and pressuring American companies to keep jobs at home. Even if such major changes are made, experts argue they will not be sufficient to reignite such dying U.S. industries as apparel manufacturing and coal—or improve long-term job prospects. They also do little to address jobs lost to automation. What can be done to help those workers who are left behind? The answer may lie in America’s community colleges.
Colleges as First-Responders for Retraining