Workforce Education: A New Roadmap

Publication date: February 1, 2021

A roadmap for how we can rebuild America's working class by transforming workforce education and training.

The American dream promised that if you worked hard, you could move up, with well-paying working-class jobs providing a gateway to an ever-growing middle class. Today, however, we have increasing inequality, not economic convergence. Technological advances are putting quality jobs out of reach for workers who lack the proper skills and training. In Workforce Education, William Bonvillian and Sanjay Sarma offer a roadmap for rebuilding America's working class. They argue that we need to train more workers more quickly, and they describe innovative methods of workforce education that are being developed across the country.

It's not just that we need a pipeline of skilled workers for future jobs; we need to give workers the skills they need now. Focusing on manufacturing, healthcare, and retail sectors, Bonvillian and Sarma investigate programs that reimagine workforce education, from short intensive courses that offer certification to a new model for apprenticeships. They examine the roles of community colleges, employers, governments, and universities in workforce education, and describe new education technologies that can deliver training to workers. We can't tackle inequality unless we equip our workers for twenty-first-century jobs.


About the authors

William B. Bonvillian is Lecturer at MIT in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and Senior Director of Special Projects at MIT's Office of Digital Learning. He is the coauthor of Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution and Advanced Manufacturing (both published by the MIT Press).

Sanjay E. Sarma is Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where he is also Vice President for Open Learning. He is the coauthor of The Inversion Factor (MIT Press) and Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn.