What jobs will Americans hold in the global economy of the twenty-first century and how will they develop the skills they need to compete for these positions? Over the past two decades the emergence and tremendous growth of the Internet has enabled more than a billion new individuals to participate in the global labor force, led to the automation and integration of numerous jobs, and provided a new platform for distance learning. Accompanying the explosion in connectivity, we have seen a shift in the focus of skill debates from a concern about loss of U.S. firm competitiveness to a loss of workforce competitiveness.
Today the concerns extend to the offshoring of knowledge work in addition to factory labor; even high-end research and development and professional work is moving rapidly to China, India and other high-skill, low-wage nations. Transforming the U.S. Workforce Development System brings together some of the leading scholars and practitioners working in the skills field to examine what research tells us about the current state of the U.S. skills system in comparative perspective and the major changes that are required to help better prepare U.S. workers for the challenges of competing in the decades ahead. Particular emphasis is placed on labor-management efforts at enhancing skill development.