AMERICA’S FORGOTTEN MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS : EDUCATION AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS IN THE NEXT DECADE AND BEYOND
A strong public consensus now supports enhancing the skills of America’s workers, especially through more and higher-quality education and training. But what kinds of skills, education, and training are most appropriate, in light of changes in the U.S. economy? Is the “information economy” resulting in rising demands only for workers with college and post-graduate education? Various economists have argued that future demands for workers will be strong in highly-educated professional jobs and low-paid service jobs, while much more modest at skill levels in between these sectors. Does this mean that education and training for jobs requiring less than four years of college are no longer worthwhile public investments? of the economy. Accordingly, we see a need for increased U.S. investment in high-quality education and training in the middle of the skills range—not just for college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In this paper, we review evidence on how the demand for workers with different levels of education and training will evolve over the next decade and beyond. We analyze data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on recent and projected future demand for jobs in the middle of the labor market. We also consider projected trends in the supply of workers at different levels of education.