What are the five Career and Technical Education pathways that provide training for these jobs?
The job market is challenging enough for those with a college degree, but it is especially so for those without. While the unemployment rate for recent four-year college graduates is 6.8 percent, it is at 24 percent for recent high school graduates, according to a recent report by the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
But the jobs are out there for workers without a bachelor’s degree: 29 million, to be exact, or one out of every five jobs, according to a new Georgetown study. These "middle jobs" pay between $35,000 and $75,000 annually and do not require a bachelor's degree. Forty percent pay more than $50,000 a year.
One-third of these jobs are blue-collar positions, while half are now white-collar office jobs. Another 15 percent are in healthcare. Men, the report finds, hold 18 out of the 29 million middle class jobs. For men and women, the best jobs are in sub-baccalaureate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and healthcare, where more than 80 percent of jobs pay middle-class wages. A sub-baccalaureate degree is a postsecondary degree of less than four years awarded by a community college or vocational school.
“Compared to other advanced economies, the United States underinvests in sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center’s Director and lead author of the report, in a statement. The U.S. ranks 16th internationally in sub-baccalaureate attainment (it ranks second in the share of workers with a Bachelor’s degree). In addition, it hasn’t increased its sub-baccalaureate attainment since the baby boom generation.
There are five pathways that provide the career and technical training that could provide access to the 29 million middle-class jobs. Employer-based training represents the largest pathway at $454 billion of spending, the report finds. Postsecondary certificates have eclipsed associates and master’s degrees as the second most common postsecondary award after the bachelor’s degree. Associate’s degrees account for 800,000 awards each year. Half of these degrees are related to such career-oriented fields as nursing, business, and information technology.
Registered apprenticeships reach roughly 400,000 Americans. Nine out of 10 are men and over half are in construction. Industry-based certifications such as Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA certifications are test-based postsecondary credentials awarded by employers.
By 2020, the report forecasts, nearly two-thirds of U.S. jobs will require some postsecondary education and training.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.