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Monday, June 10, 2019

New Fed Report: Job Opportunities for Workers Without a College Degree

A new Fed report finds that opportunity employment — jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree and that typically pay above the national annual median wage (adjusted for regional price levels) — accounts for 21.6% of total employment in 121 of the nation’s largest metro areas.

The Opportunity Occupations study (PDF) from the Federal Reserve banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland also finds that:

  • The share of opportunity employment ranges from a high of 34% in Toledo, Ohio, to a low of 14.6% in Washington, D.C., in the areas analyzed.
  • The types of jobs available, the level of education that employers require for job openings, and the cost of living influence how much opportunity employment there is in each region.
  • The largest opportunity occupations nationwide range from health care to the skilled trades to office work.
  • Some of the largest opportunity occupations, including a number in health care and the skilled trades, could experience above-average growth through 2026 and are not considered to be at significant risk of automation.

These jobs are prospects for the more than two-thirds of U.S. adults age 25 years and older without a bachelor’s degree, although many of the jobs do require some training beyond high school.

Some potential solutions for increasing local opportunities for these workers? Prioritizing economic development in certain industries, expanding post–high school training programs, and rethinking the level of education that employers require and the ways they assess skills.

Strengthening Workforce Development in Rural Areas

Given the common workforce challenges rural areas face — such as a declining share of working-age individuals and greater distances to major centers of employment — what are opportunities for workforce development investments that address both labor demand and supply in these areas?

A special topic brief, released through the Investing in America’s Workforce initiative, seeks to answer that question. Based on roundtable discussions with community leaders in rural areas throughout the country, the brief explores the challenges and opportunities in building stronger rural economies.

Read the brief: Strengthening Workforce Development in Rural Areas (PDF).