It’s not that local workers lack the skills for these positions, many of which do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. Rather, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.
Were it not for the drug issue, said Mr. Krueger, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, workers trapped in low-wage jobs might be able to secure better-paying, skilled blue-collar positions and a toehold in the middle class.
“This hasn’t gotten as much attention as the participation issue, but we could potentially match perhaps 10 percent of the population in better jobs,” he said. “That could have a positive, cascading effect on wages.”
The story goes on to touch on another key issue:
Even as many states decriminalize recreational marijuana use, or allow access by prescription for medical use, “relaxing drug policies isn’t an option for manufacturers in terms of insurance and liability,” said Edmond C. O’Neal of Northeast Indiana Works, a nonprofit group that provides education and skills training.
More in the New York Times story HERE: