Recovery for whom?

Recovery for whom?

Eva Kaplan-Leiserson

The U.S. and global economies are on the upswing, reports say.

MSNBC, for example, cites as evidence increased consumer spending and investment growth in the United States, rising consumer confidence in Europe, and global expansion by China and India.

But not everyone is reaping the benefits of an improving economy. In the United States, minorities, immigrants, and the working poor are still struggling.

According to the Washington Times, although the U.S. jobless rate declined in fall 2003, the unemployment rate of African Americans rose more than 2 percent in the last year.

Growth in employment among the U.S. Hispanic community, which completely flatlined during the downturn, is back up, the Times reports. But the current rate is far below the pre-recession rate (2 percent versus 5 percent).

Immigrants to the United States are facing their own obstacles, says a report by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Many people entering the country lack English literacy, so they end up working in low-paying jobs and living in poverty.

The working poor eek out an existence under difficult circumstances. Writer Anna Quindlen reports in a Newsweek column that soup kitchens and food pantries that once served mainly single men, often substance abusers or the homeless, now see more families and people from a range of low-paying professions.

The job growth that people are talking about is often in low-paying service jobs, says Quindlen. Half of the professions expected to take off in the next decade are in the lowest-paying job groups.

There’s an opportunity for training to be the hero. In the Times article, Representative Hijah Cummings (D-MD, also chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus) calls investments in human capital “essential.” He urges support for job training programs that “give individuals the tools and resources they need [for] positions.”

CLASP reports that the most effective programs for low-income workers offer a range of services, including job search, education, and job training. Those programs are more effective and the results last longer than programs that only provide job search or basic education, the report says.

Few programs provide the necessary mix of services. The CLASP study offers recommendations for creating such programs.

People in the United States overwhelmingly support job training programs and see them as crucial for improving the economy. A study by the Workforce Alliance found that 90 percent of the registered voters polled think education and training are important.

People are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports education and training, the study says. Campaign messages emphasizing job training were more compelling to voters than those about homeland security, tax cuts, or environmental protection.

Worst-Paid Jobs

These rankings are based on the relation of pay to how valuable or loathsome the work is. In descending order to worst paid:

8. restaurant dishwasher

7. consumer loan collection agent

6. slaughterer or meat-packer

5. police officer

4. medical resident

3. funeral home and morgue attendant

2. EMT or paramedic

1. preschool teacher

Source/ CBS MarketWatch, as reported in Kennedy’s Career Strategist

More Info (Newsweek article)

E-News: First U.N. University Diploma Offered

You can now get a diploma from the United Nations. The 26-year-old U.N. University is launching a 10-course online diploma program on Integrated Water Resources Management through the U.N. Water Virtual Learning Center.

The program will be distributed through “a global electronic network of regional and national training institutions,” first in Africa and the South Pacific and then worldwide. The course will be customized by region.

Water experts developed the course over three years and a cost of US$1.6 million. The program was showcased at the World Summit on the Information Society last December.

Dr. Ralph Daley, director of the U.N. University International Network on Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH), says, “This initiative exploits the unprecedented opportunities available through modern technologies to greatly expand global educational opportunities and the availability of authoritative materials, customized to recognize local needs and customs.”

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Survey Says: Leadership

The results are in from the latest leadership survey conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI). The survey gathered responses from 1500 leaders and almost as many associates around the world. The findings:

Leaders are feeling more pressure to perform. Three-quarters of the leaders surveyed said pressure had increased compared to the year before. Sixty-five percent said they felt their performance is being judged more stringently.

Associates have low confidence in leaders. Only 38 percent said they had high confidence in their leaders. The skepticism is greatest about frontline supervisors who have the most contact with employees.

Leaders don’t feel capable. Respondents believe they are strong in only a third of the skills needed to do their jobs. Compared to four years ago, leaders have lower competence and more weaknesses.

Leaders’ ethics are being carefully watched. Fifty-eight percent of employees pay more attention to the ethics of their supervisor than a year ago.

Organizations are having trouble identifying new leaders. Nearly half of the companies surveyed don’t have a process to identify and develop people into leadership and management positions.

Many organizations don’t hold leaders accountable. Forty-one percent of companies said they had trouble holding accountable mediocre or poor leaders.

Strong leadership can mean more money. Work groups with strong leaders are more than 30 percent more likely to outperform other groups and are significantly more productive.

GO TO “2004 Forecast,” Intelligence (February T+DJ for more leadership lends.

Send press releases or short articles on news, trends, and best practices to Intelligence, T+D, 1640 King Street, Box 1443, Alexandria, VA 22313-2043. Email

Quick Hits

* Top leadership competencies are adaptability, communication, decision making, building a successful team, and managing the job.

* Most common leadership derailers are being overly concrete and micromanaging.

* Half of all internally promoted leadership candidates fail without proper planning.

* Loyalty is high but is at risk of decreasing in a stronger economy.

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COPYRIGHT 2004 American Society for Training & Development, Inc.

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