NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Businesses Invest In Upgrading Workplace Skills

April 21, 2000

The private sector in the United States spends more on training workers than the total annual spending on all U.S. colleges and universities, estimates the Employment Policy Foundation.

The EPF estimates are based on data on private sector gross domestic product, direct training costs and average annual hours spent in work and training. EPF finds that:

  • Annual total training costs firms between $2,625 and $3,442 per worker -- or $78,750 to $103,260 over a 30-year career.
  • In aggregate terms, this means annual training expenditures by firms of $284.7 billion to $373.3 billion.

Two 1995 surveys of employers and employees by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 84 percent of employees receive formal training from their current employer. Over 95 percent of workers receive informal employer provided training.

Source: Anita U. Hattiangadi, "Upgrading Workplace Skills: Businesses' $300 Billion Annual Investment," Issue Backgrounder, April 10, 2000, Employment Policy Foundation, 1015 Fifteenth Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 789-8685.


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