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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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Building America’s
Skilled Technical Workforce

Committee on the Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs:
Education, Training, and Certification Pathways

Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
Board on Higher Education and Workforce
Policy and Global Affairs

Board on Science Education
Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences

National Academy of Engineering

A Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1406910; Contract No. HHSH250200976014I/HHSH25034024T with the Health Resources & Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Contract No. HHSP233201400020B/HHSP23337006 with the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Contract No. DOL-OPS-15-P-00071 with the U.S. Department of Labor; and a grant from the Spencer Foundation; with additional support from the National Academy of Sciences W. K. Kellogg Foundation Fund. This study was also funded in part by a grant from JPMorgan Chase.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-44006-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-44006-8
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/23472
Library of Congress Control Number: 2017939638

Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/23472.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.

The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.

Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
×

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Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Reports are peer reviewed and are approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Proceedings chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other convening event. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and have not been endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit nationalacademies.org/whatwedo.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE SUPPLY CHAIN FOR MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS: EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND CERTIFICATION PATHWAYS

Jeff Bingaman (Chair), Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

Thomas R. Bailey (Co-Chair), Director, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

Katharine G. Frase (NAE) (Co-Chair), Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Public Sector (retired)

David S. C. Chu, President, Institute for Defense Analyses

Rita R. Colwell (NAS), Distinguished University Professor, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland College Park, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Gary Hoachlander, President, ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career

Harry J. Holzer, John LaFarge Jr. S.J. Professor of Public Policy, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Francine Lawrence, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers (retired)

Jennifer McNelly, President, 180 Skills, LLC

Elizabeth Mertz, Associate Professor, Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of California, San Francisco

Paul Osterman, Nanyang Technological University Professor of Human Resources and Management, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Annette Parker, President, South Central College

Susan K. Sclafani, Pearson Foundation (retired)

Mark Tomkins, President and CEO, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest

PROJECT STAFF

BOARD ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMIC POLICY POLICY AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS

Gail Cohen, Board Director

Sujai Shivakumar, Study Director

Jeff Alstott, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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David Allen Ammerman, Financial Officer

David Dierksheide, Program Officer

Fred Lestina, Senior Program Assistant

Erik Saari, Senior Program Assistant

BOARD ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE POLICY AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS

Tom Rudin, Board Director

BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION

DIVISION OF BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AND EDUCATION

Heidi Schweingruber, Board Director

Margaret Hilton, Senior Program Officer

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

Ken Jarboe, Senior Program Officer

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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BOARD ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMIC POLICY

For the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, this project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), a standing board established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 1991. The mandate of the STEP Board is to advise federal, state, and local governments and inform the public about economic and related public policies to promote the creation, diffusion, and application of new scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. economy and foster economic prosperity for all Americans. The STEP Board and its committees marshal research and the expertise of scholars, industrial managers, investors, and former public officials in a wide range of policy areas that affect the speed and direction of scientific and technological changes and their contributions to the growth of the U.S. and global economies. Results are communicated through reports, conferences, workshops, briefings, and electronic media subject to the procedures of the National Academies to ensure their authoritativeness, independence, and objectivity. The members of the STEP Board and staff are listed below:

Richard K. Lester (Chair), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jeff Bingaman, Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

Ellen R. Dulberger, Dulberger Enterprises, LLC

Alan M. Garber (NAM), Harvard University

Ralph E. Gomory (NAS/NAE), New York University

Michael Greenstone, The University of Chicago

Arati Prabhakar (NAE)

Luis M. Proenza, University of Akron

Kathryn L. Shaw, Stanford University

STEP Staff

Gail Cohen, Board Director

Jeff Alstott, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow

Paul Beaton, Senior Program Officer

David Dierksheide, Program Officer

Fred Lestina, Senior Program Assistant

Erik Saari, Senior Program Assistant

Sujai Shivakumar, Senior Program Officer and Study Director

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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Preface

Skilled technical occupations—defined as occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry—are a key component of the U.S. economy. The United States needs a workforce with the right mix of skills to remain competitive while fostering greater innovation and boosting shared prosperity.

In response to globalization and advances in science and technology, American firms are demanding workers with greater proficiency in literacy and numeracy, as well as strong interpersonal, technical, and problem-solving skills. However, employer surveys and industry and government reports have raised concerns that the nation may not have an adequate supply of skilled technical workers to achieve its competitiveness and economic growth objectives. American policy makers therefore need to consider whether they are creating the conditions that will encourage citizens to prepare for technically oriented, skilled jobs. The implementation of the recently reauthorized Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 represents an opportunity for federal, state, and local policy makers to make the U.S. system for workforce development more demand-driven and accountable.

In response to the broader need for policy information and advice, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened the Committee on the Supply Chain for Middle Skilled Jobs to examine the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs.1 To carry out this charge, the committee undertook a review of the salient academic and evaluation literature, commissioned a series of papers on key topics, convened a national symposium, and consulted numerous experts to gather evidence and incorporate diverse viewpoints to inform its deliberations.

This consensus report, which provides the committee’s conclusions and action-oriented recommendations for improving the American system of

__________________

1 Although the committee’s name includes the phrase “middle-skill,” this report describes this workforce as “technically skilled,” a term the committee determined to be a more appropriate designation (see Chapter 1).

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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technical education, training, and certification, is a result of this broad-based effort. It is the committee’s hope that this report will guide policy makers and administrators, educators, employers, labor organizations, and other stakeholders in preparing Americans for well-paid technically skilled jobs that meet local and national needs to support a robust economy.

This study reflects a collaborative effort across several boards and program offices of the National Academies: the Board on Higher Education and Workforce, the Board on Science Education, and National Academy of Engineering Program Office. The study was led by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

On behalf of the National Academies, the committee expresses its appreciation for the insights, experiences, and perspectives made available by the authors of the papers we commissioned and to the participants in the symposium and meetings we convened over the course of this study. We particularly recognize Margaret Polski for her assistance in preparing a draft of this report and in responding to the comments of reviewers. In addition, we thank Alicia Sasser Modestino for her valuable contributions to Chapter 2 of this report. We also recognize David Dierksheide, Fredric Lestina, and Erik Saari of the STEP staff, along with Rita Johnson, for their contributions to the report’s preparation.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF REVIEWERS

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Marilyn Barger, Hillsborough Community College; Crystal Bridgeman, Siemens Foundation; Ellis Cowling, North Carolina State University; Alicia Dowd, Pennsylvania State University; Miles Free, Precision Machined Products Association; Kevin Hollenbeck, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; Melissa Kearney, University of Maryland; Livia Lam, Learning Policy Institute; Robert Lerman, American University; Daniel Marschall, AFL-CIO; Mary Alice McCarthy, New America Foundation; Darlene Miller, Permac Industries; Sanjay Rai, Montgomery College; Ursula Renolds, ETH Zürich;

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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James Stone, National Research Center for Career and Technical Education; Michelle Van Noy, Rutgers University; and Michael Wolf, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Cora Marrett, University of Wisconsin, and Robert Sproull, University of Massachusetts. Appointed by the National Academies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Jeff Bingaman Sujai Shivakumar
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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Abbreviations and Acronyms

AACC American Association of Community Colleges
ACTE Association for Career and Technical Education
ASAP Accelerated Study in Associate Programs
ATD Association for Talent Development
ATE advanced technical education
BEA Bureau of Economic Analysis
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
CBO Congressional Budget Office
CPI Career Pathways Initiative
CPS Current Population Survey
CSW Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
CTE career and technical education
CUNY City University of New York
CWS Credentials for Work Survey
DoD U.S. Department of Defense
DOI U.S. Department of the Interior
DOL U.S. Department of Labor
ED U.S. Department of Education
ESSA Every Student Succeeds Act
FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid
FTE full-time equivalent
FY fiscal year
GAO Government Accountability Office
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Building America's Skilled Technical Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23472.
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HEA Higher Education Act
HHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
IT information technology
JATC Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MOOC massive open online course
NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress
NAF National Academy Foundation
NASDCTEc National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium
NCES National Center for Education Statistics
NGA National Governors Association
NMI National Manufacturing Institute
NSB National Science Board
NSF National Science Foundation
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PCAST President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
PIACC Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies
SHRM Society for Human Resource Management
SOC Standard Occupational Classification (System)
STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
TAA Trade Adjustment Assistance Act
UCX Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers
USCM U.S. Conference of Mayors
USMAP United States Military Apprenticeship Program
VET vocational education and training
WIA Workforce Investment Act
WIOA Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
WLMIS workforce labor market information system
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Skilled technical occupations—defined as occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain but do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry—are a key component of the U.S. economy. In response to globalization and advances in science and technology, American firms are demanding workers with greater proficiency in literacy and numeracy, as well as strong interpersonal, technical, and problem-solving skills. However, employer surveys and industry and government reports have raised concerns that the nation may not have an adequate supply of skilled technical workers to achieve its competitiveness and economic growth objectives.

In response to the broader need for policy information and advice, Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce examines the coverage, effectiveness, flexibility, and coordination of the policies and various programs that prepare Americans for skilled technical jobs. This report provides action-oriented recommendations for improving the American system of technical education, training, and certification.

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