Report: Nebraskans unprepared for jobs of future

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May 27th, 2011

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Lincoln, NE – A new report shows many Nebraskans are not prepared to fill the jobs of the future.

The report shows 35% of adults in Nebraska have no education beyond high school. That’s a large chunk of the population. And as the economy rebounds and takes on new forms, those workers might be left behind.

Future jobs in Nebraska will likely involve high-tech industries and green construction, which may require post-secondary education. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

“Our future economy as a nation is really going to be focused on higher-skilled jobs,” said Kate Wolz, the Associate Director of Low Income Economic Opportunity Program at Nebraska Appleseed. Wolz released a report Thursday that says 66% of jobs by 2018 will require some form of post-secondary education.

“Industries like financial services, biosciences, and agricultural engineering…those are the kinds of jobs our nation is moving towards, and perhaps our world is moving towards. So we need to think as a state how we keep up with the pace of change.”

Wolz said the number of high school graduates in Nebraska won’t be sufficient to meet the job demands of the future, and the state must turn to adults already in the work force. But that has its challenges.

“Unfortunately, about one in four working families is low-income despite their participation in the workforce,” Wolz said. “So our state needs to think about specifically how to engage working families.”

Wolz said there are examples of successful programs in Nebraska that do engage working families, including one in Lincoln highlighted in the report: Pathways Out Of Poverty run by Southeast Community College provides services to working families like childcare and transportation. Those services can go a long way in helping working adults advance their education, while still making ends meet at home.

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