'Middle-Skill' Workers In Hot Demand

job interview "Middle-skill" workers -- those with more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree -- are currently in hot demand. The state of New York alone has projected that it will have nearly a million job openings for these workers by 2018. That's according to a new study that also says the state will have to invest in some serious training and education to make sure those workers are ready.

The report, released by the National Skills Coalition in partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, also projects that middle-skill jobs (including new jobs and replacement) would account for nearly 40 percent of all openings between 2008 and 2018.

"The advanced manufacturing sector is growing, and demand will remain high for ready and qualified employees," says Mike Mandina, president of Optimax Systems, Inc. and chairman of the Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers' Enterprise (FAME). "As U.S. firms adopt lean principles in order to compete in the global market space, we require a work force with a significantly higher skill set than for manufacturing jobs of the past."

Surprisingly enough, prior to the national recession, New York was already experiencing shortages of middle-skill workers in crucial industries. About 46 percent of all current jobs are classified as middle-skill, but only 39 percent of New York workers have the credentials to fill them.

In particular, New York's health care and transportation sectors are expected to provide multiple middle-skill job opportunities."Occupations within the transportation sector, including air, truck and passenger transit jobs, are expected to experience large numbers of job openings due to a high percentage of workers close to retirement. Additionally, as the economy recovers, there is potential for a bigger gap between the supply and demand of many types of health care professionals with middle-skills training," according to the report.

Some of the middle-skill jobs expected to grow by 2018 include dental hygienists, with median annual earnings of $65,160; electricians, with median annual earnings of $61,430; and aircraft mechanics with median annual earnings of $56,900.

"As the economy recovers and grows in new directions, regional employers will need many workers with 'middle skills' and industry certifications," said Dr. Anne M. Kress, president of Monroe Community College. "In fact, community college students are finding jobs in industries like health care, optics and other technologies because they have these 'middle skills.' Community colleges play a central role in developing these skills."

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell


Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

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Position available: Cashier....Shift: 3rd........Hours: Part time.....Wage: $7.50/hr.------------------Minimum Requirements: Doctoral Degree in Astrophysics from MIT (Honors students only will be considered)....10 years previous cashier experience.....full set of finger prints complete with FBI background and Department of Homeland Security clearance.....those with 3 years cancer research internships and full set of plans for resolution of Middle East peace crisis will be given consideration in lieu on Doctoral degree...Blah,blah,blah.........Employers will get bit in the @$$ in another couple of years as (if) employment returns and these grossly under employed folks begin to seek positions they are better suited for.

March 18 2011 at 11:45 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The higher the education the more income is a myth perpertated by the Politicians and Efetits of this country. It doesn't take a masters degree to teach a fith grader how to spell. But the education elite and unions push for higher pay so they make people think that its essenial for teaching students. So then teachers have to pay off their student loans and thier unions push for higher pay becaause wow their members have masters and doctorate degrees. We need more vocationa education learning centers not Universities who thrive on their basketball and football programs. leave the higher education to the doctors and sciences and put this country back to work.

March 18 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

I have read all the comments below and agree with a lot of them. I was kicked out of my position of 16 yrs. 2 years ago. The excuse was the economy, but that was just an excuse to get rid of me without a stir. I got very good evals and did my job well (without a degree). Oh well, I have been looking and changing my approach on how I apply for a position. I have also went out and obtained a new skill. I do believe and have witnessed, age and gender discrimination. Big employers can get away with what they want, because they have corporate lawyers with money to defend them and a world that is allowing it. There is a lot of competition out there. If you were an employer, who would you choose......the person with the degree, no work experience, but has been trained to talk a good game, or the person who has no degree, but has work experience, believes and proves to be a hard worker and willing to learn? I hope employer look at all aspects of a person, not just the degree.

March 18 2011 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rbyfm599's comment

This is the simple truth regarding ALL employment positions....

1. Regardless of "regulations" the employer WILL hire and retain ONLY those canditates and employees that it desires to . In the absensence of physical proof or witness to obvious and continual prejudice, neither lawyers or juries can rationally determine an actual motive for hire or fire, so that threat is meaningless to a company that generally obeys the law. Thus any prospective employee MUST consider that no one OWES you anything, and YOU must earn everything instead.

2. As an employer, I am interested in ONE THING ONLY, and that is HOW MUCH PROFIT CAN I MAKE BY USING YOUR COSTLY SERVICES? "White collar" positions outside of technology are NOT PROFITABLE FOR ME. The ONLY time I hire white collar positions are as physical extensions of my authorities over responsibilities and outcome, (business expansion) or when forced by regulation to emply a bureaucrat to fill out useless gummint paperwork.

3. Employers and employees alike are codependent in their mutual competiton against worldwide sources that also serve our domestic marketplace. If you appear to me that your focus is upon you rather than "us," I will not hire you. You are a future threat to an enterprise that puts food on EVERYONE'S table. This also means I will NEVER HIRE unionists or socialists. If your "judgement" is so bad you didn't choose to avoid pregnancy, then didn't place your child with a more qualified adoptive couple and instead exercised a deadly "choice," you demonstrate that you cannot be trusted wih my investors' capital or enterprise.

I don't hire a resume or list of diplomas, achievements and certificates, nor do I hire "groups" or "regulations." I hire PEOPLE and expect to always deal with a PERSON seeking to cooperatively accomplish my goals. I make ALL judgments based upon attitudes and performance, not some nebulous "sophistication." As an employer, if YOU aren't in this EXCLUSIVELY for OUR MUTUAL success through MY plan and management, and thus be willing to suffer the bad times equaly as well as the good, YOU will be regularly unemployed while your cooperative neighbors are well employed by successful enterprises.

March 18 2011 at 3:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

In my area there are over a million people looking for a job. If you have a degree, you are over-qualified and if you have no degree they will say you have no experience. If you are older, they want a younger person and if you don't know Spanish, they want someone bilingual. Employers are looking for a reason to disqualify 249 of the 250 people who have applied for the job. The bottom line is that schools want you to sign up and self opportunities are in abundance--but jobs, not many.

March 18 2011 at 10:12 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

They let me go cuz they said they couldn't afford to pay me the wage I was making. They wanted someone with a degree. Now they have found that the person with the degree can't do what I was doing. They called and wanted me to come back (at a lower wage of course). I hung up on them. They paid for the so called expert, now live with him.

March 18 2011 at 9:15 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

i don't buy their theory due to the current unemployment rate---why would they pick someone without college FOR THE SAME PAY ? those that went through the dEpression often said that there were college grads working in woolworths etc and AT THAT TIME....college grads were rare--today it's nothing more than a glorified high schOOl diploma.

March 18 2011 at 8:07 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to priority109's comment

The blunt response is that employers generally seek and pay for PROFITABLE EMPLOYEE OUTPUT, NOT glorified certificates and diplomas.

Enterprises are nothing less than financial institutions that are required to return investors a profit worth their investment. Give the employer their expected output and profit, especially without being a problem, and YOU are a "star" employee.

My personal experience is that most baccalaureate degrees translate to unreasonable expectations of wage to profitable output ratio. Post graduate technical degrees translate to more immediate profit, while non-tech advanced degrees translate to ever increasing non-recoverable expense.

March 18 2011 at 4:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


March 18 2011 at 6:58 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

First of all if you are going to use Career Builders to find a job - DON'T. Its such a waste of time. Even after you specifically tell them what kind of work you are looking for, they will still send you emails for telemarking, vacume cleaner sales, work at home schemes, or ones that you need a 10 year degree. Their site is full of ads to go to school - for an arm and a leg and these schools brag that they have a high success rate on graduates but that don't mean those same graduates have jobs in fields they went to the school for. Bet many of them are asking " would you like fries with your order ? "

March 16 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I have been of of work for 5 months, unfortunately with with no degree, I am having a real tough time even in the Administrative/Clerical field. I cannot afford to go to college...I have gone on numerous interviews with no luck....

March 16 2011 at 3:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Someone please tell Lisa Johnson Mandell to get her head out of fantasy land. This whole column reaks of bull. The reality of it is the economy is still struggling, companies ARE weeding people out by using key word machines that'll kick your resume to the curb if it dosent have certain words in it, not too mention many of them want you to have a degree for a job that most capable people can perform without one. I'd like to see Lisa apply for jobs in various fields with mock resumes and lets see just how many inteviews she gets called for. P.S., Lisa make sure they arent jobs like oh McDonalds, Footlocker or a local gas station.

March 16 2011 at 3:22 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

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