A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Brooks: How to Make a Difference in the Lives of the Working Class

In his New York Times column this past week, David Brooks digs into the message he believes working class people are trying to deliver to politicians about the kind of society we want and what those in government should do to foster an economy that works for all Americans. 

Brooks notes “this is still a country in which nearly 20 percent of prime-age American men are not working full time. This is still a country in which only 37 percent of adults expect children to be better off financially than they are. This is still a country in which millions of new jobs are through ‘alternative work arrangements’ like contracting or consulting — meaning no steady salary, no predictable hours and no security.”

“Working-class voters tried to send a message in 2016, and they are still trying to send it,” Brooks argues. “The crucial question is whether America’s leaders will listen and respond.”

Brooks also points to a new book by Oren Cass called “The Once and Future Worker”:

"...Cass supports academic tracking. Right now, we have a one-size-fits-all education system. Everybody should go to college. The problem is that roughly one-fifth of our students fail to graduate high school in four years; roughly one-fifth take no further schooling after high school; roughly one-fifth drop out of college; roughly one-fifth get a job that doesn’t require the degree they just earned; and roughly one-fifth actually navigate the path the system is built around — from school to career,” Brooks says. “We build a broken system and then ask people to try to fit into the system instead of tailoring a system around people’s actual needs."

"Cass suggests that we instead do what nearly every other affluent nation does: Let students, starting in high school, decide whether they want to be on an apprenticeship track or an academic track. Vocational and technical schools are ubiquitous across the developed world, and yet that model is mostly rejected here,” Brooks argues. 

Check out the full column by Brooks