Rural areas face numerous challenges in building a high-wage, high-skilled workforce. In response to these obstacles, many regions have established workforce development networks that provide stronger linkages between employers, schools, training institutions and community-based organizations. Gary Paul Green examines in this book how these networks are organized, why employers and training institutions participate in them and whether they are effective.
Drawing upon data from training institutions, employers and other organizations in rural areas, the author takes a multi-method approach to examining workforce development networks by combining qualitative and quantitative data, as well as considering various actors. Collaborative models of training are found to provide a strong incentive for employers to increase their investment in job training, reduce the risk and cost of training, and improve the flow of information in local labor markets. The author also describes the critical role community-based organizations play by broadening the available training and providing stronger ties with employers and workers. He concludes that workforce development policy needs to recognize the importance of grassroots organizations in job training and build institutional support for their activities.
The new data and analyses will be of great interest to academics working in the area of rural and workforce development. Community and workforce development practitioners as well as human resource managers will appreciate the concrete suggestions for policy and practice.
Gary Paul Green, Professor, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Rural Labor Markets, Networks and Workforce Development 3. Employer Training: Individual Investments in Collective Goods 4. Community Colleges in Rural America: New Roles and Challenges 5. Workforce Development Networks: The Visible Hand at Work 6. Shoot the Alligators or Drain the Swamp: Can Grassroots Efforts Make a Difference? Appendices References Index