WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joint Economic Committee Democrats released a report today that highlights the need to invest in proven middle-skills pathways. Much of the emphasis on postsecondary education focuses on four-year bachelor’s degree programs, but middle-skills pathways can provide the training and education required to prepare people for promising careers.
The report, “Expanding Opportunities through Middle-Skills Education,” shows that middle-skills jobs make up one-third of all jobs in the U.S. and have an average annual salary of more than $45,000. Over a third of the top 30 fastest growing occupations are middle-skills occupations, and the average placement rate for apprentices after program completion is 91 percent.
“A dynamic workforce is a key component of any strong economy,” said Senator Martin Heinrich, Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. “Apprenticeships and other middle-skills pathways can enhance the skills of America’s workforce, boost U.S. competitiveness and prepare a new generation of American workers for labor market success. Congress must take real measures to invest in these programs to make sure our students are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.”
The report outlines a common set of principles middle-skills pathways should embody to ensure that they provide students with opportunities to succeed. These include expanding career opportunities without limiting future options, teaching skills that are in demand by local and regional employers, and teaching specific skill sets in addition to general skills. They should also offer portable and stackable credentials that students can build upon, and empower students to determine the best path for their future by improving access to information.
The report is the final in a series on education and the economy. Click here to view the full report.
For more information, please contact Latoya Veal at Latoya_Veal@jec.senate.gov or 202-224-0379.