Berks Alliance Community Forum - March 2021
Research by the Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia and Cleveland have found that defining occupations by the skills required to do them could significantly expand opportunities for employment and economic mobility.
Based on an analysis of tens of millions of online job advertisements in the 33 largest metropolitan areas, this report finds a high degree of similarity between the skills employers are seeking when they are filling lower-wage jobs and the skills demanded for opportunity occupations, or occupations that do not typically require a bachelor’s degree and that pay above the national annual median wage. This research identifies pathways for displaced workers employed in the hardest-hit occupations in the Philadelphia metro area to translate their existing skills into higher-paying occupations, some of which are more resilient to the pandemic. The research finds that a transition to a better-paying occupation requiring similar skills is available to half (50 percent) of workers employed in severely declining occupations not requiring a bachelor’s degree.
In turn, the research has led to the creation of an innovative program involving a small group of community colleges to create new pathways for employment designed to connect low-wage workers with opportunity occupations. The Community College Growth Engine Fund is designed to encourage community college leaders to support to deliver skills-focused, market-driven education as regions struggle to mitigate the growing skills gap.
Kyle DeMaria, a community development research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, will present these findings. He will be joined by a panel of local business leaders. Our panel will include Dan Fogarty, the Berks County Director for Workforce Development; Jodi A. Corbett, Associate VP of Community and Academic Partnerships at RACC; Bob Harrop, VP for Personnel at East Penn and Nic Thomas, Business & Community Development staff at Gage Personnel.
Research presentation by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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