A new set of fact sheets from the National Skills Coalition evaluates the “forgotten middle” labor sector in the US and each state. Here’s the 2015 breakdown for the nation and Nevada:
Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States and in Nevada. All too often, key industries are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these jobs. Here, you can see that, while Nevada’s economy has an above-average share of low-skill jobs, they have sufficient workers to meet demand. However, we actually have more high-skill workers than the market can absorb, while there is a gap that needs to be filled in the middle-skill labor force.
As the fact sheets show, this skill gap keeps the economy from growing and employers from hiring.
The disconnect between this fact and our current push to amplify high-skill degrees in the Nevada System of Higher Education was highlighted by Dr. Alan Schlottmann in his Indy Outlook piece this weekend.
States can close their middle-skill gaps by adopting policies that support sector partnerships and career pathways, and by making job-driven investments. Policymakers can also use data to better align workforce and education investments with employer skill needs. We we look at advancing higher education and improving economic development, Nevada should make sure to not forget the majority of workers in middle-skill jobs.