Presents workforce data from Detroit, such as unemployment rates and predicted high growth industries, to highlight the need for a middle-skill career pathways system there, then provides recommendations about how such a system could be established.

Funded by the JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills at Work initiative “to help communities address workforce readiness challenges,” the report “offers a framework for developing a demand-driven career pathways system in Detroit” (p.5). The resource uses graphics to illustrate workforce development data about unemployment rates, poverty levels, educational attainment, and expected high-growth industries in Detroit. The analysis determines that “helping to prepare low-income and low-skill individuals – particularly minorities and city residents – for middle-skill occupations must be a regional workforce development priority” (p.3). It further indicates that middle-skill jobs in healthcare and manufacturing should be the focus of the career pathways system. The authors explain that “healthcare and manufacturing are the Detroit region’s largest industry sectors, with strong demand for middle-skill workers. Healthcare is an important driver of middle-skill job growth and an increased need for qualified applicants over the next few years creates opportunity for low-skill residents to access training and seek better jobs. Long the foundation of Michigan’s economy, manufacturing continues to provide many middle-skill opportunities, despite its jarring job losses since 2000, and more skilled workers will be needed to replace retirees” (p.4). The resource provides illustrated career pathways examples for both healthcare and manufacturing, as well as recommendations about how the city should go about building such pathways.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Driving Opportunity in Detroit: Building a Middle-Skill Workforce to Strengthen Economic Recovery and Expand the Middle Class

Major Findings & Recommendations

Based on an analysis of Detroit workforce data, the resource authors believe that “Detroit is on the road to recovery following more than a decade of economic difficulties. Now it is essential to build on the region’s assets and create a comprehensive career pathways system that will help refuel the economy and strengthen the middle class. By targeting healthcare, a high growth sector, and manufacturing, an industry long linked with Detroit that still offers thousands of middle-skill jobs, the region can beat pessimistic recession-era forecasts to achieve strong and equitable economic growth” (p.7). The resource then provides three specific recommendations to help Detroit achieve this form of growth: “1. Develop a regional talent development ‘master plan’ to align regional goals and outcomes for preparing Detroit residents for middle-skill occupations in high-demand sectors” (p.7). “2. Build a system of career pathways aligned with industry cluster demand to prepare Detroit residents effectively to earn credentials and secure middle-skill occupations in the region” (p.7). “3. Align public, private and philanthropic investment in talent development with industry-focused vision and goals” (p.7). The resource also expresses a commitment from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to work towards these recommendations. “Through the New Skills at Work initiative, JPMorgan Chase will contribute resources and expertise to accelerate this work to help transform lives and help strengthen Detroit’s economy” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)