Help wanted: ‘Middle-skill’ workers

Spotlight features my long-awaited (at least by me) freelance story for McClatchy News and the Hechinger Report: With “middle-skill” credentials — an occupational associate degree or certificate  — it’s possible to earn a middle-class living without heavy student debt. But most students aim for a bachelor’s degree. The A and B+ students usually have the academic skills and motivation to complete a four-year degree; weaker students usually end up with nothing. Many are “majoring in debt,” as Georgetown Professor Anthony Carnevale puts it.

Also on Spotlight: Nearly everybody’s going to college these days, but many graduates aren’t ready for the workforce, writes Julian Alssid of Workforce Strategy Center.

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  1. Is the distinction really between “middle skill” and “high skill,” or is it rather just between kinds of credentials? Is someone with a typical 4-year sociology degree really more highly skilled than a toolmaker or an air traffic controller?