Opportunities Exist in Middle-Skill Jobs that Do Not Require College Degrees
New Haven, CT (Nov. 3, 2023) — As job openings across a range of industries and employment sectors in Connecticut sit unfilled, thousands of potential applicants remain on the sidelines because of disconnections between employers and the workforce training system, according to a new labor market report.
The recently published “Labor Market Study of Greater New Haven and the Valley,” explores the opportunities for middle-skill jobs that do not require college degrees and pay living wages in the regional economic growth sectors of healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and bioscience. The comprehensive 87-page report provides recommendations for both employers and the workforce development system.
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The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the Valley Community Foundation funded and produced the report in partnership with Blakely Consulting as part of the Foundations’ strategy to advance equity and opportunity in the region through inclusive economic growth and development.
“Our Greater New Haven region is growing and holds great potential to create inclusive opportunity in our community. This report provides an in-depth look at the gaps in our system and the imperative for workforce providers and the for-profit sector to come together and work in new ways for the benefit of job seekers, employers and our growing economy,” said Will Ginsberg, President and CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
“The report highlights the mismatch between industry needs and training programs,” said Sharon Closius, President and CEO of the Valley Community Foundation. “Strengthening collaborations between employers and training organizations is vital. At VCF we want to support goals and work that help strengthen the assessment of training programs to ensure they align with employers’ needs and provide more targeted training opportunities.”
The report was guided by an advisory committee and included over 40 listening sessions and interviews with job seekers, employers, job training programs, and other professionals involved with the workforce system. Sections include a detailed analysis of the regional labor market and an industry overview that targets occupations that do not require a college degree. It also details the challenge of the “benefits cliff,” which refers to the decrease in public benefits that can occur with a small increase in earnings, and which causes a disincentive in the labor market. The report highlights three promising case studies of targeted workforce programs in bioscience, healthcare and manufacturing sectors that involve partnerships in the private sector to create curricula that are relevant to the current job market.
In addition to improved collaboration between industry and the workforce system, the report recommends employers modify job application requirements to hire based on demonstrated skills as opposed to education credentials.
“The Greater New Haven and Valley Labor Market Report is a great service to employers, job seekers, and community organizations in our Valley region and could not be timelier. The report underscores the urgent need to connect workers with middle-skill jobs and for training programs to be designed with stronger employer participation and engagement,” said Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President, who was a member of the Regional Labor Market Analysis Advisory Committee.
“As we progress in our efforts to build a more inclusive economy, local data is a critical component. This study provides clarity and direction about available jobs and the current employment landscape. We all benefit from the Community Foundations’ prioritization of this type of study,” said Garrett Sheehan, President and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce who also participated in the Regional Labor Market Advisory Committee.
Both full version and sections of the Labor Market Study of Greater New Haven and the Valley are available for download here:
About The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s mission is to inspire, support, inform, listen to and collaborate with the people and organizations of Greater New Haven to build an ever more connected, inclusive, equitable and philanthropic community. Established in 1928, The Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S and has been built by donors supporting a broad variety of issues and organizations. As the permanent charitable endowment for 20 towns in Greater New Haven, The Foundation is implementing a 5-year strategic plan to expand opportunity and equity in our region. Stepping Forward, a commitment addressing the impact of COVID-19 and advancing racial equity is also in place through 2023. For more information about The Foundation visit www.cfgnh.org or follow @cfgnh on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Valley Community Foundation
Established in 2004, each year the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) distributes approximately $2 million in grants that support local nonprofits and people they serve. In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF) to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton and receives funding from The Gates Fund and other preference funds at TCF that benefit the Valley. For more information, visit www.valleyfoundation.org. Valley Community Foundation, 253-A Elizabeth Street, Derby CT, 06418. Office: (203) 751-9162.
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