In New York State and in many places around the nation, there are not enough skilled workers to meet the needs of today’s workplaces. And the need for skilled workers keeps growing.
Chart from report. ReadyNation/America’s Edge.
When we think about jobs with different skill levels, we may think of white collar jobs or blue collar jobs. But a substantial and growing segment of jobs are middle skill jobs — those that require more than high school but less than a four-year college degree. In New York, these middle-skill jobs comprise 33 percent of all jobs in the state.
A new report released today by ReadyNation/America’s Edge shows that New York is projected to face a deficit of 350,000 middle-skill workers needed to fill jobs in the state. By 2020, 81 percent of the high-growth, high-wage jobs in the state will require at least a two-year degree. And in STEM fields, 95 percent of jobs in New York will require education beyond high school.
What can New York citizens and policy makers do to address the growing demand for skilled workers? The report calls for innovative high school education approaches, along with rigorous Common Core Learning Standards, to help prepare tomorrow’s workforce and help close these skills gaps. These education models each promote a set of cross-cutting skills referred to as 21st century learning skills, which include: critical thinking, problem solving, working collaboratively, and communicating effectively. These education models, such as Career Academies, Big Picture Learning, and the New Tech Network, prepare students for college and career success.
The press release of the report.
Those of us working on children’s issues know that investing in high-quality early learning for young children pays off over the long run, with better academic performance in school, increased rates of employment, and decreased involvement with crime. Less well known are the impressive short-term benefits of early learning for the local economy.
The business leaders’ organization ReadyNation/America’s Edge released a report today, which I contributed to, illustrating the short-term economic activity that can be generated by early learning in Illinois. As the report states:
For every $1 invested in early care and education in Illinois, an additional 94 cents are generated, for a total of $1.94 in new economic activity in the state. This strong economic boost for local businesses is higher than investments in other major sectors such as transportation, retail trade and manufacturing. This strong economic boost for local businesses is higher than investments in other major sectors such as manufacturing ($1.79), transportation ($1.91) and retail trade ($1.93).
While investments in any industry generate additional economic activity, what’s impressive here is that the early learning sector has one of the highest “multiplier effects” in the local economy compared to other major sectors. Although the figures cited here are specific to Illinois, the same general pattern holds true across the country, with the early learning sector at or near the top compared to other major sectors.
Early learning promotes economic development. Not only does it help kids get the right start in life, it generates additional economic activity in the local economy which benefits businesses and our communities. When policymakers are faced with tough budget choices, its good to know that early learning is an investment that can help children learn, help parents work and help grow the economy.
The press release for the report.