For Workforce Professionals and Policymakers
Promoting a Skills Strategy
A highly skilled workforce is critical to attracting and expanding businesses and creating jobs. With high unemployment throughout the nation, this is precisely the time to ensure Maryland is training the middle- and high-skill workforce that critical to long-term economic recovery and success. However, many Marylanders lack the necessary basic education, skills and/or credentials to succeed in the workforce. Despite a strong record of providing post-secondary training, the State continues to experience shortages of middle- and high-skilled workers.
For thousands of recently laid off workers, the jobs they lost are gone – some possibly forever. When returning to the workforce, it will most likely be to jobs in new, emerging or growing industries, requiring a different skill set to succeed. However, there are not enough trained Marylander’s to fill them; and a high school diploma is simply not enough to succeed. Recent studies have identified the continued growth of Maryland’s middle- and high-skill jobs requiring some sort of post-secondary certification, credential or degree (such as apprenticeship, industry certification, or associates degree). A strategy is therefore needed to align Maryland’s workforce system to better prepare students and workers with the skills to compete for jobs in the new economy, including infrastructure building, BRAC, healthcare, information technology, science and security, and jobs related to the “green economy.”
Every working Marylander should have access to the equivalent of at least two years of education or training past high school - leading to a career or technical credential, industry certification, or one’s first two years of college — to be pursued at whatever point and pace makes sense for individual workers and industries.
- A high school education is no longer sufficient for most jobs in today’s economy, or to provide the skills needed by businesses to innovate and grow.
- Maryland’s workforce must have access to quality, skilled jobs in the middle of the labor market.
- Maryland must be able to compete nationally and globally with a strong workforce preparation system for its citizens -- recent high school graduates, current workers, workers displaced by economic change, and those currently not connected to the labor market.
- Increase Maryland’s skilled workforce by 20% by 2012;
- Increase Maryland’s economic competitiveness;
- Increase the number of Marylander’s who attain education and training beyond high school;
- Produce more skilled workers to meet the growth of middle/high skill jobs;
- Grow the middle class by providing opportunities for more Marylanders to gain skills, increase earnings and advance in the workplace;
- Support the President’s goal of increased community college graduation rates and increased post-secondary participation to improve the nation’s competitiveness.
Skills2Compete is a non-partisan campaign sponsored by National Skills Coalition. S2C ensures that the U.S. workforce has the skills needed to meet business demand, foster innovation, and grow broadly shared prosperity. The campaign’s diverse and growing list of endorsers include national and local leaders from business, labor, education and training, community and civil rights groups, and the public sector. S2C encourages America to address U.S. competitiveness in a way that includes the vast majority of America’s future workers, that is, jobs in the middle of the skilled labor market which require some training past high school, but not a four-year degree. S2C Maryland is part of the national S2C initiative Sponsored by NSC, In collaboration with the national S2C campaign, Maryland (and several other states) has crafted its own similar effort, unique to the State’s workforce needs.
- National Skills Coalition
- Urban Institute: America’s Forgotten Middle-Skill Jobs
- Maryland’s Forgotten Middle Skill Jobs (PDF document, download Adobe Acrobat for free
- Finding the Forgotten Middle Video
- Georgetown University: Center on Education and the Workforce
- America’s Career One Stop
- Launching National Skills2Compete Video
- Governor’s Workforce Investment Board
Did you know?
In Maryland, 48% of all jobs are classified as middle-skill, but only 37% of Maryland's workers likely have the education and training required to fill these positions.