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Yes, we know that job training programs can be very effective. But how to keep them effective as they scale up? Normally we rely on markets and the profit motive to incentivize preserving effectiveness with scale. But with social-insurance and other pro-poor programs, the beneficiaries do not have the social power to use the market to keep the programs that serve them on track: Paul Osterman: How to Turn Bad Jobs into Good Ones 'Research shows the benefits of retraining and raising wages outweigh the costs.... Part of the problem lies in low skill levels. In Massachusetts, 53 percent of workers who earn 15 an hour or less have no more than a high school degree. But we also know that most people can improve their skills. Effective job training programs, such as those offered by the workforce development organization JVS Boston, can make a real difference. As an example, in the past year, its 12-week pharmacy technician training program placed 45 people in better-paying jobs; graduates went from earning an average of 13 an hour before gaining new skills to 17 an hour after. We have good evidence that well-run job training programs, ones that include significant investments in training, support services (for example, help with small unexpected expenses), and coaching for participants, are effective in moving people into better jobs and raising their earnings. High-performing programs are also characterized by strong relationships with employers. We know how to make these work, but we face two big challenges: spreading the model to reach more workers, and providing the resources needed to pay for it...

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