Job Training That Gets Results: Ten Principles of Effective Employment Programs
Dec 01, 2005

Job training continues to pose big challenges for workforce policymakers and practitioners as the 21st century takes root. For instance, while governments have genuinely improved the effectiveness of job training activities by making them more market-oriented, and while employment among welfare recipients has surged as a result of reforms enacted during the 1990s, labor-market success among the disabled and low-wage populations continues to lag.

Recognizing that training programs can't be all things to all people, Michael Bernick, a former director of California's Employment Development Department (EDD) and a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute, sets out in this book to show the types of training programs that do work and to describe for whom they work.

He identifies ways to improve performance among Workforce Investment Act (WIA) contractors while exploring the best uses for state discretionary WIA funds. He also describes what it takes to make an effective career ladder program, how post-employment, welfare-retention or skill-advancement programs can succeed, and the type of training that workers with disabilities must go through to get and retain jobs.

Bernick organizes the operational and policy lessons he learned from his five-year tenure as EDD director (and for more than 25 years in the job training field) into "Ten Principles." These principles, enlightened by the successes and failures of several training programs implemented in California before, during and since his stint as EDD director, are aimed at policymakers and professionals who administer training programs in both the private and the public sector.

While Bernick addresses a broad range of programs aimed at multiple segments of the population, his principles and policy prescriptions are guided by one defining element: that a system of government programs, even when well-structured, will reach only a small percentage of the unemployed and low-wage workforce, regardless of how much money is spent. Therefore, he says, policymakers need to rationalize the incentive structures of government programs while giving a greater role to innovative extra-governmental networks.

Praise for the book

"In this book, Mr. Bernick goes beyond the conventional social welfare and social services strategies for unemployed and low income workers. He shows how our nation's job training systems can be reshaped to get results." -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein

"Mike Bernick's 'Job Training That Gets Results' is compelling because the principles flow clearly from three virtues rarely found in one author: an in-depth understanding of the relevant research, practical experience as a program manager, and a refreshing willingness to challenge conventional wisdom." -- Steve Crawford, policy director, National Governors Association