National Academies' Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce Report

The new National Academies Press report Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce finds that the United States’ “skilled technical workforce is inadequate to compete in the coming decades, and actions are needed to improve education, training, and lifelong learning of workers.” According to the report, skilled technical occupations, or “occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry”—are a key component of the U.S. economy. 

This report examines the supply and demand dynamic. It finds that skilled technical workers can be found in most occupational groups, from health care to construction to manufacturing, and such jobs as medical laboratory technicians, installation and repair technicians, and computer support specialists. And, while the term “middle skills” is often used to describe these occupations, the report finds that the term fails to fully capture the actual high value of this segment of the workforce.

The “broader need for policy information and advice,” is examined and an in-depth study of “the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs” is presented.  The report also includes action-oriented recommendations for ways to improve the U.S. system of technical education, training, and certification.

Read the full report online or download the PDF version from the National Academies website here.