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Tonight’s take-home reading assignment

Jobs ImageAs state lawmakers continue to go about the business of overhauling important aspects of state government “on the fly” with complex, last-minute proposals that receive only superficial review in kangaroo committee meetings — see, for example, the Senate’s latest mad effort to privatize the state’s Medicaid system in the waning days of the 2014 session — here’s something new and unusual: an actual thorough and thoughtful report on a critically important and under-reported subject that’s not just a collection of soundbites.

The report, not surprisingly, comes from the good folks at the N.C Budget and Tax Center and it deals with the unsexy but vital subject of how North Carolina rebuilds its middle class. The central finding: We ain’t gonna’ succeed by trying to do it on the cheap and/or relying upon race-to-the-bottom tax cuts and low-wage jobs. This is from the release that accompanied the report this morning:

To create a strong middle class in North Carolina, lawmakers must invest in workforce development, says a new analysis out today from the Budget & Tax Center.

North Carolina’s investment in job training and other workforce development efforts has dwindled since the end of the Great Recession, despite the huge economic challenges facing the state’s workers. The latest Budget & Tax Center report highlights the problems with this foregone investment and offers specific recommendations for fixing the problem.

By 2020, 61 percent of jobs in North Carolina will require some kind of post-secondary training or education. Unless the state puts more resources into creating a skilled, well-educated workforce, it will continue to fall behind the rest of the nation in career opportunities and family income, said Allan Freyer, one of the report’s authors.

The report is chock-full of compelling data and common sense recommendations.  So, even though it is gulp, 10 whole pages long, do yourself a favor and make it your take-home reading this evening. In all likelihood, you’ll know a heck of a lot more about the subject than most state legislators by tomorrow morning. Click here to access a printable copy.

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