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Middle-Skill Level Job Openings Set To Increase Exponentially In Next Ten Years

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The Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition released a report yesterday that finds a growing number of unfilled ‘middle skills’ jobs, and concludes that Indiana’s Skills Gap is an adult problem that will require adult solutions.

Jessica Fraser, program manager and co-chair of the coalition, says in this report they define a middle skills job as a job  that requires training, that is more than a high school diploma, but less than a four year degree.

Mostly, it is one-year credentials or two-year associate degrees.

She also mentions that this is a update to a report they rolled out in 2010.

“In the ten-year projection from this report, we found that there were 63,000 more middle-skills job than in the projection we did three years ago,” Fraser says. “This means more opportunity in the middle-skills job market.”

According to Fraser, middle-skills jobs mean more than that for Hoosiers.

In the short term, the jobs don’t require four-year college education, which makes people get re-trained relatively quickly and able to make a family-sustaining wage if they lost their jobs.

“There are jobs that are required to take place here in Indiana,” Fraser says, “Not only that, but they are high wage jobs, and I think that’s the key takeaway for Hoosiers in the long term.”

Despite all these benefits middle skills job brings to Hoosiers job market, the report finds that the largest and fastest-growing segment of Indiana’s skills gap comes from middle-skill jobs.

Fraser says that 55 percent of the jobs in 2012 were classified as middle-skill, but only 47 percent of people in Indiana had the skills for those jobs.

“Based on a ten-year projection, 550,000 job openings will be coming up as middle-skill. We simply won’t have nearly enough workers to fill those positions,” Fraser says.

To fill the gap, the Coalition has selected four policy priorities: allow part-time students greater access to state financial aid, continue differentiation of services for students in adult basic education, maximize on-the-job training opportunities and promote the statewide establishment of prior learning assessments.

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