Examines the gap in middle-skills workforce and provides recommendations for how business leaders, educators, and policymakers to improve U.S.’s global competitiveness.

“By applying the lens of competitiveness, [the authors] endeavor to show how the use of information can improve outcomes for employers and workers. The first, essential step is to differentiate among the vast array of middle-skills jobs and concentrate on those with three important attributes:

  • The create high value for U.S. businesses;
  • They provide not only decent wages initially, but also a pathway to increasing lifetime career value for many workers;
  • They are persistently hard to fill” (p.3).

The authors reviewed different studies and conducted surveys to analyze and map the existing middle-skills landscape. To explore the “implications of the middle-skills gap, the authors dev eloped a framework that mapped the importance of jobs “to the strategic success of American companies and their capacity to support high and improving standards of living for someone holding that job” (p.9). The framework provides a tool for mapping “occupations that sustain U.S. competitiveness” while offering “enduring value to both businesses operating in the U.S. and American workers” (p.9).  

(Abstractor: Author and Website staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

In order to develop America’s existing middle-skills development system, the authors present the following policy recommendations: • “Business leaders must champion an employer-led skills-development system, in which they bring the type of rigor and discipline to sourcing middle-skills talent that they historically applied to their materials supply chains. • Educators must embrace their roles as partners of employers and help their students realize their ambitions by being attentive to developments in the jobs market and the evolving needs of employers. • Policymakers must actively foster collaboration between employers and educators, invest in improving publicly available information on the jobs market, and revise metrics used by educators and workforce development programs such that success is defined by placing students and workers in meaningful employment” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website staff)