What will the U.S. labor market look like four years from now when you graduate from UNC? How will employment opportunities and employers’ skills requirements differ from those facing your parents and family members a generation or two ago, or even those of recent college graduates? What types of job-seeking support and assistance will you likely need to enter and navigate this fast-changing labor market environment?
This seminar contextualizes these questions by looking at the changing nature of the American job and the transformative forces—from global trade and corporate restructuring to automation and the rise of the “sharing” economy—that have influenced this change in recent decades and have added to economic insecurity in recent years and in the aftermath of the “Great Recession.” We will consider how these forces and others are experienced differently by urban and rural residents, by men and women, and by members of different socio-economic and ethnic groups, including native-born and immigrant workers. We will also consider local and regional strategies for helping today’s workers respond to this changing economic environment, such as efforts to link competitiveness-enhancing retraining and industrial upgrading programs; the creation of new partnerships between employers and labor market intermediaries, such as staffing agencies, labor unions and non-profits; and finally, new forms of labor and community organizing to improve job quality and workplace justice. This seminar will not only help you think about the larger economic and policy implications of U.S. labor market restructuring, but also consider how the forces behind this change, and responses to it, potentially affect your own job prospects and career advancement opportunities.