Steve Savner

Recent Articles

Can Better Skills Meet Better Jobs?

Our ongoing national debate about poverty, work, and opportunity is in many respects an argument about supply versus demand. Is working poverty ultimately a problem of the skills workers supply or the number and quality of jobs employers create? The supply-side camp, dominant for many years, argues that the solution to poverty amid prosperity is improving the skills of the disadvantaged. Underlying this formulation for both liberals and conservatives is the belief that our economy -- and our society broadly -- is more or less a meritocracy. The hard-right position is essentially that the market system ensures that the cream rises, regardless of whatever disadvantages prevail at the starting line. The liberal slant maintains that due to historical inequities, some groups are unable to tap into the meritocracy because they haven't been able to realize their potential. And the solution has variously been dubbed “manpower” development, job training, or, in today's language,...