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in helping their members get jobs in New York City. Ethnic and racial groups also differ in their use of family ties: for example, analyses from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality showed that Hispanics benefit more from family ties in getting jobs than blacks or whites.
Trade unions and professional associations might also provide alternative mechanisms for employees to use both as sources of information and job mobility and as mechanisms for defining their identity in the workplace. Craft unions have long served those functions and have helped to structure labor markets in many industries, such as construction, through the creation of hiring halls and other mechanisms. The much greater involvement of unions as champions of training programs for their members, especially retraining programs, is a more contemporary innovation. The rise of "nickel funds" and other arrangements for funding joint union-management training programs has given employees more influence over the content of training programs and more choice in selecting them. Especially in companies in which job opportunities for union members are in decline, these programs provide mechanisms for changing careers through the acquisition of new skill sets that are often unrelated to current jobs (Ferman et al., 1990).
The decline of union coverage in the private sector has reduced the ability of unions to serve as an alternative source for training, a network for jobs and career mobility, and more generally for information and support when changing jobs. Nowhere is this decline more noticeable than in such industries as construction, in which unions not only helped organize the labor market but also developed elaborate mechanisms for acquiring and certifying the skills of workers through apprenticeship systems.
Professional associations may perform similar functions for managerial and white-collar jobs. Although the evidence is only anecdotal, it does appear that these associations are spending more of their energies on training and career advancement (including the traditional practices of networking) in response to the greater interest of their members in careers that span employers. The training and especially the certification aspects of these new efforts seem oriented toward producing something like a professional occupational model for jobs that had previously been seen