High School Grads With Specialized Skills Needed in NYC

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New York City has a skills gap problem. According to a recent JPMorgan Chase study, the city is lacking specifically in the middle-skills sector--individuals with a high school diploma and technical training, but not a college degree. The report, the first in a series spanning a five-year, $250 million New Skills at Work initiative, aims to offer insight and solutions to nine major metro areas of the country, as well as France, Germany, Spain and the U.K.

New York City currently has more than 1 million middle-skills positions, with 44,000 openings at this time. While focusing on the entire high-growth potential of middle-skill positions, the report hones in on the city's two highest-growth fields: healthcare and technology. The fields combine to employ almost 500,000 in the city today with 190,000 being middle-skilled.

One startling problem the report tries to address is that 46 percent of the city's population age 25 and under lack the applicable skills to fill positions -- stunting their early professional growth as well as stymying the employers looking to fill their staffs. Other notably bitter facts addressed are the high number of people without a high school graduation (22 percent) and the amount of jobseekers out of work for over a year (over 30 percent).

The report suggests the city needs to undertake major changes to fix its employment woes.

"Finding enough qualified New Yorkers to fill the middle-skill openings in healthcare and technology -- let alone other high-growth, high-demand sectors -- will be impossible without redesigning the city's workforce development system," the report explains. "In order to meet this demand, NYC will need to build an employer-led, sector-based workforce development system supported by robust career pathways."

Suggestions include making middle-skill positions more well-known in the city, policies backing sector-based career routes and creating additional career pathways that work with the city's labor demand. Other recommendations suggest starting specialized training in high school, a strategy many high schoolers have already embarked on.
JPMorgan Chase Closing the Skills Gap, New York
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