Targeting Our Middle-Skill Economy: State by State Snapshots

August 27, 2014

New NSC fact sheets show that demand for middle-skill jobs is strong in the 50 states and DC. 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 each of the 50 states.

All too often, key industries in our country are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these jobs. In 2012, middle-skill jobs accounted for 54 percent of the U.S. labor market, but only 44 percent of the country’s workers were trained to the middle-skill level. As the fact sheets show, this skill gap keeps states' economies from growing and employers from hiring.

States can close their middle-skill gaps by adopting policies that support sector partnerships and career pathways, and by making job-driven investments. States policymakers can also use data to better align workforce and education investments with employer skill needs. NSC works with state coalitions and policymakers to promote these strategies.

Recent efforts by several states aim to close the middle-skill gap. At least 15 states enacted skills-related legislation in 2014, and governors in Ohio, Virginia and Massachusetts have announced new skills initiatives. NSC Executive Director Andy Van Kleunen told the Washington Post that tackling the gap is “a smart way to target investments and skills, and it’s going to get more people to jobs more quickly.” Still, there is much work to be done to address our country’s middle-skill economy.

NSC’s state-by-state fact sheets show the current and projected demand for middle-skill jobs, as well as the middle-skill gap. Find out more and download your state’s middle-skill fact sheet here.