There’s a gap, some analysts argue, between the type of jobs that go begging and the type of jobs we are training the workforce for: middle-skill jobs. These require education beyond high school — and most likely credentials — but not a four-year degree. Examples are machinists, medical therapists, a variety of health workers and technicians.
The National Skills Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, estimates that between 2010 and 2020, 52 percent of New Jersey’s job openings will fall into that group and that 53 percent of openings in 2012 were aimed at the middle-skilled.
Meanwhile, less than 40 percent of the workforce is preparing for those jobs, but more than 40 percent is preparing for high-skilled jobs, while there are barely more than 30 percent of openings in the high-skill area. And, of course, we have many more low-skill workers (20 percent of population) than there are jobs available (about 14 percent).