Report: There's a looming skills gap in New York's economy

Apr 25, 2014

There is a looming skills gap between available jobs in New York and the training needed to fill them, according to a new report.

The report, by Ready Nation/America’s Edge found that by 2020, there will be 350,000 available jobs in the state that New Yorkers won’t have the skills needed to fill. They’re mid-level skilled jobs that require some advanced education, like an associate degree or certificate.

"It’s a lot more practical, maybe, to be a welder, to be a beautician," said state director Jenn O'Connor. "And I think that we have put less emphasis on those jobs, had less respect for those jobs over the last couple of years."

He said too many students are graduating high school not being college or career ready.

"We can’t talk about college and career readiness, or can’t start talking about it, a student’s junior year of high school," she said. "We have to start laying the groundwork from birth."

O’Connor said that means kids being exposed to more career options from their first year of school.

"We have to invest more in early education, we have to invest in pre-K, we have to invest in K-12," she said. "And we have to make sure kids are exposed to a whole range of careers throughout their education so they are ready for college and career when they graduate."

School districts across the state are starting to focus more on career and technical training and integrating it in their curriculums. Some high schools have developed programs that allow students to either graduate with certificates, or with the prerequisites to move onto community college programs.

O’Connor says there’s been more focus on four year degrees that may lead to impractical training and student debt.