The Emergence of ‘Workforce Development’: Definition, Conceptual Boundaries and Implications

Ronald L. Jacobs, Joshua D. Hawley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins a much-needed discourse about workforce development, a term used with increasing frequency among educational practitioners, policy-makers and scholars alike. In spite of the increasing use of the term, there has been limited discussion about its meaning and implications for established fields of study (Giloth, 2000; Grubb, 1999; Harrison&Weiss, 1998). This discourse is critical for both theoretical and practical reasons, particularly given the economic and social benefits that are expected from workforce development programmes (Grubb&Lazerson, 2004).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work
EditorsRupert Maclean, David Wilson
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-5281-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-5280-4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • vocational education
  • adult education
  • adult learning
  • workforce development
  • demographic shift


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