The purpose of this paper is to address ideas that I learned this semester relating to the topic of workforce education. Specifically, I will address the mission of workforce education, the role of work, foundational components of workforce development and some of the forces that affect the nature of work. The Mission of Workforce Education Workforce education is defined as a level of education provided by private business and industry, or government-sponsored, community-based organizations. It is used to increase opportunity in the labor market or solve human performance problems in the workplace.
This definition suggests two missions of workforce education. One mission is to promote individual opportunity in the labor market, to teach individuals the required skills needed to reach career goals and to be competitive. The second mission is to solve workplace problems by improving the worker’s performance. This helps the economy by increasing productivity. Roles of Work One role of work is social identity. In the United States, a person is defined by “what they do,” their job, career, or occupation.
In most instances, we Americans introduce ourselves by name and occupation.
Another work role is that of class. Most Americans are in “middle-class. ” The status of middle-class is defined by social, economic, and education status. These three characteristics all apply to different types of occupations: blue collar, laborer, white-collar, professional, scholar, doctor, lawyer, etc. These types of occupations correspond to different education levels and salary levels. Finally, the role of work gives an individual self-worth. Aside from economic reasons, many people who are beyond retirement age choose to continue to work.
There are all types of reasons, from boredom to need of a routine, or to get out of the house; people continue to work, even if they don’t have the need to do so. Foundational Components of Workforce Development The are a number of foundational components of workforce development. They fall into political, socio-economic, or social categories. The following components are addressed below: 1) Supply and Demand; 2) Human Capital Investment; 3) Workforce Productivity; 4) Work Ethics; and 5) Family Influences. 1.
Supply and Demand – When the demand for workers exceeds the supply, or if the supply of worker exceeds the demand, the labor pool is either reduced or increased. The ideal situation for the national economy and for individuals is when supply equals demand. In the technical fields, there is a demand that exceeds the supply of technicians. This has affected the development of the workforce. 2. Human Capital Investment – Labor is considered the most important component of national wealth. Therefore, the workforce must be of a high quality.
To ensure a high quality workforce, it is vital that investments are towards the workforce. In theory, investment in human capital will lead to greater economic outputs. Individuals with advanced skills earn higher salaries. 3. Workforce Productivity – The output of goods and services that results from an hour of labor is workforce productivity. The skill-level of a worker correlates with the wage-level. An example would be that a high-skills worker would receive a high wage. Workforce education is a must to bring the workforce to the level of skill necessary to support high wages. 4.
Work Ethics – An appropriate work ethic is a fundamental characteristic needed by employees. Many workforce educators overlook the Level I skills (on-time to work, basic courtesies to co-worker, etc. ) and do not address work ethic as a basic fundamental need. 5. Family Influences – the socioeconomic status of a family is related to the career development, socialization, and career choices of children. This is referred to as the status attainment model. The basic concept is that ones parent’s social status affects the level of schooling achieved which affects the occupational level achieved.
Recently, the concepts of mental ability and socio/psychological processes have been added to this model. Forces Which Affect the Character of Work The are many forces that affect the character of work. The most constant attribute about these forces is that they are always a factor in affecting work. Five of them are described below: 1) Technology, Information, and Power; 2) Stress; 3) Free Trade; 4) The Global Economy; and 5) Downsizing and Reorganization. 1. Technology, Information, and Power – Advanced technology has changed the distribution of power and information in organizations.