[Excerpt] As the United States enters the last decade of the 20th century, its labor market is in transformation. New forces that are restructuring the nation's employment patterns are altering the demand for labor. At the same time, the labor supply is in a period of rapid growth in size and unprecedented changes in composition. Assessing the evolving situation, then Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole proclaimed in late 1989 that the nation's labor force was "woefully inadequate to meet the changes that lie ahead." Many other knowledgeable observers have expressed similar concerns. The nature of the workforce is emerging as the number one economic issue confronting the nation. The implications extend not only to the competitiveness of the economy and to the preparedness of the labor force but, given the multiracial and multicultural makeup of the population, to the prospects for maintaining domestic tranquility.