Some analysts have noticed, even if it doesn’t eat up a lot of time in the 24-7 news cycle.
On October 11, 2018, Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Insitute (AEI) noted the decline in males who work, and said that it was not a demand side problem. Eberstadt spoke at a conference co-sponsored by the Fordham Institute and the Hoover Institution.
He claimed our welfare systems is a contributor to men’s income, particularly disability services, and he mentioned a government survey which said: “…you see that about three out of five of the prime age men who are not in the labor force report they’re receiving one or more of these disability benefits…” Men may not see joining the labor force as extremely important if these government programs will continue to provide them with a reliable source of income.
Eberstadt said that men who receive disability welfare can also be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and that this has resulted in about half of the them taking some kind of painkiller. Thus, the opioid epidemic has occurred and is affecting males who are not working. Eberstadt proposed “…completely overhauling our disability insurance archipelago and looking for something more like a work-first principle, in which case there would be a great opportunity for marrying that with various sorts of training programs…” He also suggested that education “…can focus much more on vocational skills than it has, both in K-12… and post-high school vocational coursework.”
Kevin Bauman and Cody Christensen writing for AEI examine the United States’ workforce development system and offer suggestions for improving it. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to assist workers in skill acquisition. President Donald Trump has increased funding for apprenticeships and “signed several executive orders to strengthen partnerships among employers, training providers, and job seekers,” according to Bauman and Christensen.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) offers six core programs: an adult services program, a dislocated worker program, a youth services program, a Wagner-Peyser program, adult education and literacy programs, and a rehabilitation services program. It also requires states to work with other partner programs.
“Today, participation in the Adult Services and Dislocated Workers programs is much higher than in the early 2000s, when participation hovered around one million participants per year,”Bauman and Christensen claim. It was found, however, that there were high exit rates, although it is not confirmed whether or not this meant more people completed the program or quit without completing it. People can receive financial aid to help pay for education expenses and living expenses through the WIOA, but certain states have limited the amount.