The Institute was recently notified that Dr. Herbert E. Striner had passed away on August 7. Dr. Striner headed the Washington D. C. office of the Upjohn Institute between 1962 and 1969. He is credited with bringing the Institute into the national policy arena on issues of national employment and unemployment.
The 1960s were exciting times for the nation and for workforce policy. During the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society programs and signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The nation’s economy was still experiencing the post-war boom, with GNP growing as much as 8 percent a year. In the midst of this growth, businesses were concerned about finding qualified, technically skilled employees, workers were worried that large advances in automation and productivity would take away their jobs, and policy makers were concerned about structural unemployment and the lack of adequate training for low-income and even middle-income workers.
By the time Dr. Striner assumed the leadership of the Institute’s Washington office, he was a well-known and established researcher in the Washington D.C. area. Immediately prior to joining the Upjohn Institute, he served as research director for Senator Eugene McCarthy’s Special Committee on Unemployment Problems. The committee, created by senator majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson, issued recommendations that became the basis for programs of the "Great Society," which followed in a few short years. One of the programs was the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, which provided training to low-income workers to help with structural unemployment problems.
With Dr. Striner’s direct involvement in the formation of these policies, he placed the Institute front and center for studying the host of employment issues facing the nation at the time. Dr. Striner identified 13 national research studies which the Washington office pursued over the next several years. He hired noted economists to conduct the studies, including Drs. Sar Levitan, Harold Sheppard, Irving Siegel, and Saul Blaustein.
Under Dr. Striner’s apt leadership, the Washington office researched and wrote many Public Policy Information bulletins on key issues that Congress and the administration were considering. Institute staff wrote monographs on topics related to vocational training, employment and training programs for Native Americans, greater industry involvement in workforce training, higher education for disadvantaged youth, and many others, which were disseminated to key policy makers.
After leaving the Institute in 1969, Dr. Striner continued his distinguished career, by working and teaching at other top institutions in Washington D.C. The office was closed in 1978 in order to consolidate activities in Kalamazoo. He kept in touch with the Institute periodically up until only a few years before his death. In June 2009 in an interview with our staff, he expressed great pride in his association with the Institute and in the accomplishments of the Upjohn Institute team of experts that he led.