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Westchester Community College Sees Opportunity In 'Middle-Skill' Jobs

Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College, is leading the charge to help students find employment with 'middle-skill' jobs.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College, is leading the charge to help students find employment with 'middle-skill' jobs. Photo Credit: Facebook

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Although neglected by many higher education programs, 'middle-skill' jobs are increasingly becoming a popular career path among college-age students. Understanding this necessity, Westchester Community College is catering to this unique sector of students and offering programs designed at maximizing earning potential.

Middle-skill jobs are defined as positions that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. They can include roles fields such as communications, customer service, analytics, computer skills and more. 

The demand for middle-skill jobs remains high, yet a small skilled workforce is causing many positions to remain unfilled. A National Skills Coalition report states that many industries are unable to find enough trained workers to fill their positions. In New York State, 46 percent of anticipated job openings through 2022 will be in this middle-skill category.

Westchester Community College, which serves more than 25,000 students, is mindful of this need for middle-skill jobs. The college recently participated in a study, “Connecting to Promising Careers: Middle-Skill Jobs in the Lower Hudson Valley,” which challenges colleges to reassess the way they react to upcoming changes in the workforce.

Further still, the U.S. Department of Education released data that details the typical earnings of career-training programs, including those of middle-skill positions.The findings showed that community colleges are producing the bulk of certificate graduates and that graduates of certificate programs are largely working in well-paying fields.

The study also found that more than half of certificate program graduates from public institutions work in a higher-earning field, such as nursing and welding. Community colleges produced approximately 75 percent of graduates with certificates.

With the lack of middle-skill workers available and the abundance of positions vacant, institutions like WCC are doing their part to ensure students are armed with the skills to prosper.

For more information on Westchester Community College, visit their website. 

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