Type of Document Dissertation Author Zuokemefa, Pade P. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-11242003-163407 Title Application of Workforce 2000/2020 Analysis to a Southern Rural Community Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Peter Easton Committee Member Keywords
- Workforce Development
- Worforce 2000/2020 Application
Date of Defense 2003-11-17 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Since publication of the Hudson Institute report on Workforce 2000: Work and Workers in the 21st Century in 1987 and the appearance of its sequel, Workforce 2020, a decade later, a popular form of analysis of economic trends and adult education needs has emerged and its conclusions have been widely cited. The approach has, however, been developed and almost entirely applied at the “macro” level of regions, States and the country as a whole. This dissertation assesses the applicability and utility of a Workforce 2000/2020 type of analysis for a rural Southern minority community by performing a “double diagnosis” that involves 1) using the Workforce 2000/2020 framework to examine the learning challenges, needs and opportunities facing a small Southern rural community (Gretna, Florida) as it enters the 21st century; and 2) at the same time assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Workforce 2000/2020 as an approach to these issues in local rural and minority communities by observing and analyzing the results of this “experiment” with local stakeholders.
The methodology used for this study was a “mixed method” procedure that combined an “embedded” case study framework with action research. Sampling was done at the community level (City of Gretna), and within-case (or local sampling scheme). Within-case or local sampling used elite, snowball and key informants strategies to identify stakeholder groups and choose participants within each group.
The study was performed in three sequential phases. In the first phase, a Workforce 2000/2020 study was conducted of demographic and economic trends in the city of Gretna and their impact on labor supply and demand using both qualitative and quantitative data. In the second phase, these substantive results were analyzed with local stakeholder representatives and the patterns compared to those characteristics of “macro” Workforce 2000/2020 studies. Finally, the experience of the Gretna analysis itself was assessed and compared to the methodology of macro Workforce 2000/2020-type studies to examine the applicability of this approach to a rural minority community and the modifications required.
The macro Workforce 2000/2020 analysis suggests that, nationwide, the skill level of our workforce is insufficient to meet the competitive challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. In short, there is a growing mismatch (or at least a growing risk of one) between a high level of demand for skilled labor and an inadequate supply of existing workers or new job entrants having those qualifications. Analysis of the situation in Gretna, however, suggests something rather different. There appears to be much less mismatch. The demand for skilled labor is very low and the supply of human resources is almost equally low. In fact, the picture for Gretna is more one of a region mired in low-level equilibrium of supply and demand than one of a disequilibrium created by unmet opportunity.
The Workforce 2000/2020 approach offers several strengths and weaknesses. As a principal strength, the effort to line the supply of human resources against the demand for it provides some unique insight into the situation of the community and serves to assemble types of data and groups of actors, like educators and business people that are not often or as systematically brought into dialogue. On the other hand, however, the approach pays little attention to historical and social context, does not prescribe participatory measures designed to include the voices of those concerned, and puts preponderant emphasis on supply-side factors to the detriment of a critical understanding of the roots of demand. An attempt was made to remedy these principal shortcomings in the approach used for this study.
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