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.