Lack of vocational education stifles US mobility

Sam Fleming:

“If we care about social mobility in America we can’t just dismiss this,” says Mr Holzer, who released a report for Brookings on the topic this month. “It requires America to be more serious about career and technical education than it has been in a long time.”

Economic debate has been dominated by discussion of the “hollowing out” of the middle of the workforce because of new digital technologies and globalisation. This narrative, which is leaving its mark on the UK general election as well as US politics, suggests that opportunities will be concentrated in very highly skilled jobs and the lower end of the wage spectrum such as food service, where recent hiring has been rapid.

But in the US experts say this understates the significance of middle-skilled jobs which require some postsecondary training but not necessarily a university degree.