Publication Date: May 27, 2017
Middle-skill jobs are important jobs: radiology technician, electrician, modern robot-heavy factory worker, emergency medical technician, wind turbine technician. In some cities, a construction boom is hobbled by a lack of plumbers. We might ameliorate this problem if we stopped talking about plumber’s butt.
Democrats should champion a new education-to-employment system in which high schools, community colleges and universities work with businesses and unions to develop certificate programs that deliver job-ready Americans who have the specific skills needed by local industries. These programs should be shorter than college, with flexible scheduling suitable for adult students with families who may very well need to retrain again and again as jobs mutate in a fast-changing world. Skillful, a partnership among the Markle Foundation, LinkedIn and Colorado, is one initiative pointing the way. Skillful helps provide marketable skills for job seekers without college degrees and connects them with employers in need of middle-skilled workers in information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care.