Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce Looks at the Role of Privilege in Educational Attainment and Job Market Success

October 28, 2019

Share this

Title: The Unequal Race for Good Jobs: How Whites Made Outsized Gains in Education and Good Jobs Compared to Blacks and Latinos

Source: Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University

Authors: Anthony P. Carnevale, Jeff Strohl, Artem Gulish, Martin Van Der Weft, and Kathryn Peltier Campbell

A new report released by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University examines unequal opportunities and the benefits of good jobs for White, Black, and Latinos between 1991 and 2016. According to the authors, White workers benefited from historical, political, systemic educational and economic advantages when pursuing higher levels of education and finding good jobs.[1]

Key findings include:

  • White, Black, and Latino workers have all gained more education and better jobs over time. Yet, the distribution of good jobs remains inequitable. White workers (58 percent) exceedingly hold more good jobs, compared with Black (41 percent) and Latino (37 percent) workers.
  • Across every level of educational attainment, Black and Latino workers are paid less than White workers. For instance, in 2016, White workers on a bachelor’s degree pathway had a median earning for good jobs of $75,000, compared with $65,000 for Black and Latino workers.
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher was pursued as the pathway for good jobs for Whites, whereas Black workers concentrated on middle-skills[2] and bachelor’s degrees. Latinos gained good jobs across all levels of educational pathways observed in the report.

The report included two major policy implications to close racial and ethnic equity gaps in access to good jobs.

First, expand educational opportunities, which includes rewarding colleges that enroll and graduate students from underserved populations, increasing funding to community colleges, securing high-quality counselors, and investing in the retention of displaced workers.

Second, to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce, policymakers and employers need to increase resources and enforcement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; promote industry and professional efforts to increase diversity; grant tax incentives for employers to locate underserved economic areas; and grant economic development incentives to companies that make diversity, equity, and inclusion a key recruitment priority.

To read the full report please click here.

—Haelim Chun

[1] Good jobs pay a minimum of $35,000 for workers between the ages of 25 and 44 and at least $45,000 for workers between the ages of 45 and 64. In 2016, overall median earnings for all good jobs were $65,000.

[2] Middle-skills Includes workers who received education training beyond high school but did not obtain a bachelor’s degree (including people with associate degree, postsecondary certifications, licenses, certifications, and some college but no degree).

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

Rethinking Community College Workforce Education: Eliminating the Dead End

When it comes to transfer, mobility, and equity, do traditional community college pathways hinder a student’s prospects? Mark M. D’Amico looks at what we can do to get around the hurdles.

February 13, 2020

Hanover Park’s Education and Work Center: Embarking on a Path of Hope

President Obama in 2014 signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which helps ensure that job seekers have access to strategically coordinated education, employment, training and support services. However, in a small town in Illinois, one mayor was already spearheading the kind of strategic planning the federal mandate would soon require. ACE Fellow Kenya F. Ayers takes a look.

February 1, 2016

The Success of College Unbound

Four higher education leaders look at College Unbound’s learner-centered, student-driven approach to higher education and the institution’s 10-year journey through regional accreditation.

November 13, 2019