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These in-demand, good-paying jobs don’t require a degree: Pathways to Prosperity

August 29, 2018

These in-demand, good-paying jobs don’t require a degree: Pathways to Prosperity

EDITOR’S NOTE: During the next several months, Plain Dealer reporters will examine “Pathways to Prosperity” -- ways schools, businesses and organizations are or aren’t preparing students to make a living wage in today’s regional economy.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A college degree may offer one road to landing a good-paying job, but there are also other reliable paths to earning middle-class wages.

Middle-skill jobs, those requiring training after high school, but not more than an associate’s degree, are often in-demand positions with competitive pay. Many openings for these occupations, which include blue-collar ones as well as those in health care and Information Technology, are going unfilled because workers lack the necessary skills, according to “Aligning Opportunities in Northeast Ohio,” a report released in May by Team Northeast Ohio, in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation and with support by Sherwin-Williams.

Bridging the prosperity gap in NE Ohio: Pathways to Prosperity

The report identified 19 in-demand professional and technical occupations in Northeast Ohio. Few would be surprised by many of the professions that made the list. They include engineers and physicians, physical therapists and pharmacists in the category of health diagnosing and treating practitioners. Software developer and computer systems analyst also made the list in the computer and IT category.

However, many would probably be surprised by the middle-skill jobs that also made the list. Many of these paid at least $23.19 an hour, which the report said was considered a family-sustaining wage in Cuyahoga County in January 2018. Among them were jobs in the installation, maintenance and repair category, including electrical powerline installers and millwrights, who build and maintain manufacturing equipment. In the health technologists and technician’s category, they included cardiovascular technologists and technicians and medical and clinical laboratory technicians.

In-demand jobs go unfilled because workers lack skills:Team NEO report

This chart of in-demand jobs in Northeast Ohio, by category, is based on 2016 data, the latest available. It shows the mismatch between the needs of employers and the number of potential employees with the in-demand skills. In the report, demand refers to the total unique jobs postings in the region in 2016. The 18-county region covered in the report includes the Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Canton metro areas.

Take the mismatch in the computer and IT industry, for example. Employer demand was 12,227, based on job postings, but only 5,639 credentials were awarded in 2016. That means demand and credentials awarded were out of alignment by 6,588. Demand and credentials awarded for entry-level jobs was out of alignment by 1,269.

Look at the chart, and see how many of the numbers in the alignment column are in parentheses. They represent categories in which there are deficits. However, even the numbers that aren’t in parentheses often speak to misalignment, according to Jacob Duritsky Team NEO’s vice president of strategy and research, who prepared the report. Because many of the categories are comprised of a variety of jobs requiring a range of credentials, from certificates to graduate degrees, many positions within a given category could still be out of alignment. The demand for managers in several categories tends not to be as high as for other positions.

“I think that is a fair generalization, but you would really want to look category by category,” Duritsky said in an email of the lesser demand for managers. “For instance, healthcare and IT, where there is more demand than credentials, would still have some managerial positions included in them for those specific occupations.”

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