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The Future of the U.S. Workforce: Middle Skills Jobs and the Growing Importance of Postsecondary Education.

ERIC Descriptors: Labor Force; Futures (of Society); Social Change; Job Skills; Skilled Occupations; Technical Occupations; Skilled Workers; Employment Qualifications; Postsecondary Education; Educational Attainment; Middle Class; Associate Degrees; Education Work Relationship; Labor Supply; Access to Education; Influence of Technology; Employment Opportunities

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The U.S. workforce has undergone significant changes in the past few decades. Increasingly sophisticated technology, changes in the structure of the economy and the growing global marketplace have resulted in employers putting a higher premium than ever on educated workers. Much has been said about the importance of increasing the labor supply for "middle skills jobs," or those jobs that now (compared to decades past) require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor's degree (e.g., associate degree, postsecondary certificate, apprenticeship, etc.). In the past few years, floods of research reports and analyses have explored the growth, demographics, characteristics and importance of middle skills jobs in the United States. This paper seeks to summarize and synthesize that research to help policymakers and advocates understand the research base and its connection to college- and career-ready reforms. If today's students are going to be able to access middle and high skills jobs, they need to graduate from high school with the core knowledge and skills that will prepare them for success in postsecondary education and training--and for success in the careers of their choice. Specifically the paper includes sections on: (1) The Future of the U.S. Workforce; (2) The Mismatch between Workers' Skills, Education Levels and Job Requirements; (3) Many Paths to Education for Middle Skills Jobs; and (4) Middle Skills Jobs and Access to Middle Class Jobs. (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables, and 72 endnotes.)

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Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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