WorkForce Central's letter headerFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


TACOMA, Wash. – Registered Nurses. Welders. Web Developers.

Do those sound like “middle-skill” jobs to you?

We don’t think so, either. With that in mind, WorkForce Central presents its “Skilled Jobs in Pierce County: Gaps & Opportunities” report, a comprehensive look at the occupations in our county which require some kind of postsecondary certification, but do not require a four-year degree.

These occupations have traditionally been classified as “middle-skill” jobs, but an examination of the data shows that these occupations – “skilled jobs,” we’re calling them – comprise a significant, diverse portion of the Pierce County economy. As of summer 2017, there were 136,359 skilled jobs in our county, accounting for 38 percent of all jobs in the region. These occupations range from Office and Administrative workers, to Installation, Maintenance and Repair workers, to Health Care Practitioners, to Construction workers and many more.

“We need to move past the outdated and inaccurate notion that a job is ‘middle-skill’ just because it can be performed by a person who does not have a four-year degree,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “There are many rewarding, well-paying careers available to workers with any kind of postsecondary credential, and this report only reinforces what we have been saying for years: a four-year degree is just one of many possible paths to economic vitality.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • A job candidate is significantly more likely to find work – and earn higher wages – once he or she attains any level of certification beyond a high-school diploma.
  • While demand for workers varies greatly among skilled-job types, virtually every industry needs to plan ahead for a pipeline of skilled workers ready to hire when retirement vacancies occur, in addition to increased demand due to natural economic growth.
  • The average starting wage for women in skilled jobs is 49 cents per hour lower than the average starting wage for men, amounting to a disparity of more than $1,000 per year – or $30,000-$35,000 over the course of a career. Additionally, women are significantly less likely than men to complete apprenticeships or long-term training programs, and instead are more likely to be employed in skilled jobs that require only short-term or no specialized training. However, when women receive financial and childcare assistance, they complete long-term training programs at far higher numbers.

Click here to read the report summary.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.