What Went Wrong: Retraining


Job training programs open the door. Budget cuts may close it.

Oct. 13, 2011

Job-training programs can provide an avenue to the American Dream for those who have fallen through the cracks. But budget fights may cut off a critical flow of funds, putting years of success at risk.

Skills and jobs don't line up

May 12, 2011

The skills and education of America's workforce don't line up with the jobs on offer. By 2018, 72 percent of all jobs will require a college degree, but just 40 percent of Americans now have an associates degree. The solution involves massive changes to the way America thinks about education, workforce development and economic policy.

Retraining program helps, but new jobs fall short

March 22, 2011

The Trade Adjustment Act provides expanded benefits to workers who lose their jobs because of imports or offshoring — jobs lost because a company moves its factory overseas or starts importing a product that used to be made in America. Workers can get retrained through the program. But for what?

Explainer: How TAA works

March 22, 2011

How the Trade Adjustment Act works.


Graphic: U.S. offshoring trends since 1975

March 22, 2011

Offshoring moves in waves, with spikes and troughs in particular industries. These charts track the number of Trade Adjustment petitions approved. Each petition represents work moved overseas or lost to trade. It does not show the number of workers who lost jobs.

What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.


Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

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Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.