Economist Christina Romer, writing in the New York Times, says that improving access to education to prepare workers for high-skilled jobs in many industries is a better strategy for addressing income inequality than trying to return to the days when factories provided family-supporting jobs for low-skilled workers.
That’s in part because even where manufacturing jobs are available they are no longer a reliable source of higher wages for low-skilled workers. Romer notes that today “more than half of manufacturing workers have some college education, up from just over 20 percent in 1969.”
No matter where you look, the path towards family-supporting wages involves postsecondary education--although not necessarily 4-year college. That means we need to do a better job of both preparing students in P-12 to succeed in postsecondary schooling, and of addressing college affordability.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.