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Past Event

The Future of Middle-Skill Jobs

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 »


Welcome & Introduction

Keynote Speaker


Panel 1: Preparing Workers for Middle-Skill Jobs


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


Karen Elzey

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


Gerri Fiala

Staff Director, Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety

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