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Supporting Career & Technical Education

Helping to Solve the Middle-Skill Gap

Even as economic prosperity improves, a middle-skill employment gap persists. Middle-skill careers require education beyond a high school diploma but not a four-year degree, and they comprise the largest part of America’s labor market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 10.1 million open jobs in the U.S. as of June 20211, and historically about half these jobs fall within the middle-skill category. Industries like trades, manufacturing and healthcare are reporting tangible shortfalls in hiring. Demographic trends, including the retirement of Baby Boomers, will only exacerbate the shortfall. To help our economy to continue on a solid growth trajectory for all, we must collectively—as an educational system—revitalize training programs and create new pathways to middle-skill careers.

But there’s good news: Gen Z is having a mindset shift, viewing middle-skill jobs in a positive light and giving serious consideration to opting out of the traditional four-year degree path and into more affordable, career-driven options.

1“Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary,” U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 9, 2021. Click here for source info. (visited August 23, 2021.)

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