Brave new world

The Department of Labor works to improve training and job placement

Unemployment has been an especially high-profile issue during the past few years. Venturing into and returning to the work force have been difficult for many, as has the ability to advance in one's chosen field. However, the economy has not been the only obstacle for the unemployed. Some workers have been hindered by a lack of education and training, and often, adequate training is not available to those who want to begin a new career. In addition, some industries haven't had the resources to grow, and employers haven't had as much input into the government's attempts to improve the situation as they should.

"The employment system always has operated as a social service system, looking one by one at the people walking in rather than entire groups or industries," says Emily DeRocco, the assistant secretary for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

ETA is striving to create a public work force system that will help workers access not only jobs, but careers. ETA plans to do this by finding where jobs are and knowing the necessary skills to obtain and advance in those jobs. With $15 billion in resources to invest, ETA's planned collaboration of the public work force system with business and training providers should lead to more than a "walk-in" experience.

The initiative