New book edited by Rice psychologist encourages workforce readiness

If the U.S. and other countries hope to thrive in an interconnected world of wide-ranging opportunities and threats, they must develop and maintain a skilled and adaptable workforce, according to a new book edited by a Rice University psychologist.

Fred Oswald. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Fred Oswald. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

“Workforce Readiness and the Future of Work” (Routledge Press, 268 pages, $52.95) argues that the large-scale, multifaceted efforts required to ensure talent and skill in the U.S. workforce should be systematically addressed across all relevant scientific disciplines. The publication was edited by Fred Oswald, a professor of psychological sciences at Rice University; Tara Behrend, an associate professor at George Washington University; and Lori Foster of North Carolina State University, all of whom are industrial-organizational psychologists who study the science of work.

Book photo. With contributions from leading international scholars, the new book sheds light on crucial workforce effectiveness issues such as education in K-12, vocational, postsecondary and STEM arenas; economic and labor market considerations; employment, organizations and the world of work; and laws, policies and budgets at the international, national and local levels. All of these issues are linked to advice for people involved in research, practice and policy.

The book stresses that strategic national investments in job training and schools remain essential, both in the short term and the long term. The authors emphasize that these investments stimulate businesses, policymakers, labor groups and employment agencies to collaborate with educators who provide training and vocational guidance.

“Educational, employment, technological and policy initiatives related to the workforce stand to be more effective when they are defined and executed in a more coordinated and collaborative manner,” Oswald said. “Even modest improvements in this direction stand to yield great benefits to society. Hopefully, this book will provide relevant disciplines and stakeholders some workforce insights and motivation to this end.”

More information is available online at

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.