A recent New York Times article, based on a report published by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, discusses the positions of high school graduates who are not full-time students. According to a national survey, only 16 percent of people who graduated since 2009 have full-time jobs and 22 percent are working part-time. Many graduates are pessimistic about their opportunities for future employment and financial success. 73 percent believe that more education could help them, but not many are sure that they will enroll in schools anytime soon.
This article does not clarify the types of further education and college degrees that these graduates believe they need. The distinction appears to be between those who do and do not have bachelor’s degrees. This ignores consideration of a key sector of the workforce: middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs need a higher level of education than high school but do not require a four-year degree. Requirements can include associate’s degrees, apprenticeship programs, and vocational certificates. Middle-skill jobs could likely be the right opportunity for the many high school graduates who are not looking to enroll in four-year institutions.
According to the National Skills Coalition, about half of all employment and job openings in the country are for middle-skill jobs and this trend remains the same in Connecticut. Many of these jobs offer economic security and an opportunity for increases in wages. The future growth of Connecticut’s economy depends on workers being able to meet the large demand for middle-skill jobs. The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) fully supports the National Skills Coalition’s strong recommendations for Connecticut to encourage and invest in its residents’ training for middle-skill jobs. To learn more about CWEALF’s Campaign for a Working Connecticut (CWCT) please visit their website.
Written by Sarah Trench. Sarah is a volunteer blogger for the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF).