Bridges

Bridges Fall 2018

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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I N D E X T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K o f S T . L O U I S | C E N T R A L T O A M E R I C A ' S E C O N O M Y F A L L 2 0 1 8 Parents' Wealth Helps Explain Racial Disparities in Student Loan Debt 6 8 9 CDAC SPOTLIGHT Workforce Development Resources for Employers CRA: AN EXAMINER'S PERSPECTIVE Modernization of the CRA A N D M O R E > > Building a Skilled Workforce for a Stronger Southern Economy By Melissa Johnson A new day has dawned in the South. No longer is a high school education and a willingness to work hard sufficient to secure a family-supporting job. In fact, the majority of all jobs in the U.S. labor market require some postsecondary education or training. To effectively compete in today's marketplace, states must have skilled workforces. For the southern U.S.—including states within the Eighth Federal Reserve Dis- trict—this new environment requires a shift, according to a recent report co-authored by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and St. Louis and the National Skills Coalition. Economies once built on low-skill industries must now compete globally for jobs that require training beyond high school. Most of these jobs are middle-skill jobs, requiring education or training beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. Across the South, there are not enough workers trained to fill middle-skill jobs. is skills gap hurts businesses that are not able to fill positions. It hurts states because the lack of skilled workers makes it challenging to attract and retain new businesses. And the skills gap hurts low-wage, low-skill workers who are not able to advance their careers and move into good, middle-skill jobs. At a series of recent meetings in Little Rock, Ark., the St. Louis Fed and the National Skills Coalition highlighted how this middle-skill gap plays out in Arkan- sas. In presentations to community college leaders, members of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and a legislative task force on workforce education excellence, it was stated that nearly 60 percent of Arkansas' jobs are middle-skill jobs while less than half of work- ers are trained to that level. >> continued on Page 3 FIGURE 1 Most Southern Jobs Are Middle-Skill Jobs, but Not Enough Workers Are Trained to the Middle-Skill Level High-Skill Jobs High-Skill Workers Middle-Skill Jobs Middle-Skill Workers Low-Skill Jobs Low-Skill Workers 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Middle-skill jobs account for 53 percent of the United States' labor market, but only 43 percent of the country's workers are trained to the middle-skill level. SOURCE: NSC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics by State, May 2015, and American Community Survey data, 2015. https://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/ 2017-middle-skills-fact-sheets/file/United-States-MiddleSkills.pdf SOURCE: NSC Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics by State, May 2015, and American Community Survey data, 2015.

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