Feb 26

Past Event

The Future of Middle-Skill Jobs

Event Materials


America’s shortage of highly-skilled workers is well known, but less attention has been focused on “middle-skill jobs,” such as plumbers, electricians, health care workers, legal assistants, machinists, and police officers. Such jobs require significant education and training, but not necessarily a four-year college degree. They make up roughly half of all employment today, and demand for middle-skill workers is expected to continue despite the economic downturn.

On February 26, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings released a policy brief analyzing the demand for these jobs and their potential for helping disadvantaged workers move up the income ladder. Speakers examined ways to improve education and training programs to ensure the demand for skilled workers is met. John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers and governor of Michigan from 1991-2003, gave an address. 

Read the policy brief »

Event Agenda

  • Welcome & Introduction

  • Keynote Speaker

    • Gov. John Engler

      President, National Association of Manufacturers

      Former Governor of Michigan

  • Overview

    • Harry Holzer

      Professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute

  • Panel 1: Preparing Workers for Middle-Skill Jobs

    • Moderator: Jennifer Phillips

      Senior Program Officer, The Joyce Foundation

    • Ron Bullock

      President, Bison Gear

    • Robert Lerman

      Senior Fellow, American University & The Urban Institute

    • Israel Mendoza

      Director, Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Programs, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

    • Patricia Schramm

      Executive Director, Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin

  • Panel 2: Needed Policy Reforms

    • Moderator: Paul Osterman

      Professor: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    • Karen Elzey

      Vice President and Executive Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    • Gerri Fiala

      Staff Director, Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety

    • Andy VanKleunen

      Exeutive Director, The Workforce Alliance


February 26, 2009

9:00 AM - 11:45 AM EST

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105