Daniel Marschall

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Daniel Marschall

Research Professor


805 21st Street NW Washington DC 20052

Daniel Marschall is a sociologist, ethnographer and researcher who uses qualitative methods to study the evolution of national workforce development policy and the application of job training systems in organizations. He is especially interested in examining long-term trends in the national and international policy paradigm relating to post-secondary education, apprenticeship and career pathways. For many years he was a practitioner in the analysis of workforce and training programs to inform policy frameworks for local, state and federal government agencies and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining GWIPP, he was executive director of the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, which received a U.S. Department of Labor grant to expand registered apprenticeship in manufacturing and service industries. He obtained his PhD in sociology from Lancaster University (in the UK) and his Master’s degree from Georgetown University in communication studies. His ethnography of a small software development firm during the Internet bubble was the basis of The Company We Keep: Occupational Community in the High-Tech Network Society (Temple University Press, 2012.)

Multiple career pathways. Since the 1940s, U.S. education and workforce development policy has been dominated by the expectation that everyone requires a four-year college education to prosper in the contemporary labor market. This four-year-college-for-all policy paradigm has become conventional wisdom, supported by government programs, common parental attitudes, secondary education policies and career counseling practices, and cultural norms. My research documents specific instances (anomalies) which demonstrate that the existing framework is eroding. I argue that an alternative paradigm – the multiple career pathways perspective – is gaining greater credibility and support from important sectors of American government, economic, and civil-society institutions. This alternative policy paradigm is informing federal and state public policy, the appropriation of resources, and expenditures by employers and government agencies.

Expansion of apprenticeship. Because of the increased demand by employers for skilled workers, and renewed attention to the cultivation of internal labor markets, the long-standing model of apprenticeship education and training has gained greater credibility and acceptance among employers. High quality registered apprenticeship in the past has been associated with labor-management institutions in selected industries, notably the building and construction trades. The apprenticeship model is being modernized to apply to other populations and service industries, including health care, high technology, and the hotel and hospitality sector. One area of research is the applicability of apprenticeship to provide greater career opportunities for displaced workers affected by mass layoffs and plant closings. My current research focuses on a case study of the value of apprenticeship for workers dislocated from a major unionized manufacturing facility in the Midwest. The study examines the outcomes of an Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) apprenticeship program for employees as compared to workers who acquired skills and knowledge through traditional community college courses.