EMPLOYMENT BARRIERS, SELECTION STANDARDS, PUBLIC EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAMS AND MANPOWER PLANNING STRATEGIES IN A COMMUNITY WITH HIGH ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON A DISTRESSED INDUSTRY
Contemporary literature in economics, education and manpower planning is characterized by two differing approaches to the problem of unemployment. One theory, presented by authors such as Galbraith (1967), conceives of unemployment as caused by a lack of needed skills by unemployed individuals, suggesting re-education and retraining of such individuals as the appropriate solution to the problem; the other theory conceptualizes unemployment as the result of a comparative surplus of labor against the available number of jobs, suggesting economic intervention as the appropriate solution, as exposited by Doeringer and Piore (1971). The present study conceptualizes unemployment as the result of the setting of selection standards by employers which unemployed persons cannot satisfy, with such standards being dividable into two categories: those which can be changed by intervention by or on behalf of the unemployed individual, and those which are determined innately or by past events not amenable to present change by willful action. It is hypothesized that, in a job market characterized by a relative scarcity of jobs in comparison to the number of available applicants, no significant relationships will be found between the probability of an individual obtaining employment and the individual's economic status; sex; age; race; service versus lack of service in the armed forces; job experience; job attainment record; longevity on the last previous job; highest previous wage; number of previous attempts to secure employment; possession versus lack of formal vocational training; educational attainment; or participation in the Work Incentive (WIN) or CETA training programs. It is further hypothesized that no moderating effects will be found accruant to the skill requirements or wage level of the positions for which the individual seeks selection. S's were drawn by randomly sampling the job orders received by the Job Service office of a selected community during fiscal year 1977, then collecting data, as enumerated in the hypotheses above, on each individual referred for interview on the selected job orders. Additionally, similar data were gathered on the community's population of participants in CETA training during fiscal year 1977. These data were then submitted to a series of stepwise discriminant analyses for determination of relationships with the critereon variable of selection for employment. The variables found significantly related to selection for employment include WIN program participation, number of job referrals, and possession of formal training, all of which are amenable to elicited individual change, but also include economic status, race, sex, job experience, job attainment record and job longevity, all of which are unamenable to willful change by the individual. The author concludes that the remediation of unemployment in a situation characterized by a relative labor surplus requires both individual and economic interventions. This study presents a new conceptualization of the problem of unemployment, partially negating the conflict between the present competing theories. Additionally, it identifies some indicators by which the potential seriousness of a developing unemployment situation can be gauged, and demonstrates the benefits of approaching the problem of unemployment through the application of the theories and methods of multiple disciplines.
JOHN NEWTON ELY,
"EMPLOYMENT BARRIERS, SELECTION STANDARDS, PUBLIC EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAMS AND MANPOWER PLANNING STRATEGIES IN A COMMUNITY WITH HIGH ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON A DISTRESSED INDUSTRY"
(January 1, 1980).
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