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Want to Boost the Economy? Skip the Four-Year Degree


Middle-market employers are looking for more workers with education – just not the four-year brand you’d expect.

(Photo credit: eflon / Flickr)

Talk to manufacturers and you’ll hear a familiar refrain: They want employees with hands-on, practical know-how to operate machinery and manage factory automation. But these jobs that drive the economy are also some of the most difficult to fill because so many students focus on a four-year diploma instead of the vocational school training that would ready them for the understaffed, high-skill workforce.

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“The labor landscape has changed dramatically since the recession, with fewer and fewer unskilled entry-level positions and an increasing number of jobs requiring high-level technical training,” Mark Joseph Stern writes for Roadshow for Growth. “Companies that need skilled workers can’t get them; unskilled workers who need jobs can’t get them. Behold: the skills gap.”

College grads come equipped with valuable expertise, but not exactly the kind manufacturers need.

To have a strong workforce, we need to focus on training people to meed the demands of an ever-changing economy, one increasingly dominated by high-tech and skilled manufacturing. 


“We need to tell our young people: Don’t just go to college,” says Sen. Ron Johnson Johnson (R-Wisconsin). “You might not need a four-year degree. Vocational training and technical schools are a fine way to realize your potential.”

Read the rest of Stern’s post here.


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Do you think economic recovery depends on us filling the skills gap? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below.


Jennifer Wadsworth
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