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Workforce Projections

**Hanson, A. R., & Gulish, A. (2016). From to college to career: Making sense of the post-millennial job market. The Georgetown Public Policy Review, 21(1), pp. 1–23. Available at

The authors analyze some of the economic trends of millennials, with a particular focus on their lives after high school and college graduation. Millennials—defined as adults born between 1982 and 2000—have had a longer transition to adulthood than previous generations, including increased time to find careers, get married, start families, and achieve self-sufficiency. Even though this generation is more academically prepared than the generations that came before it, their employment and labor market gains still do not put them at levels they were predicted to achieve before the 2008 recession happened. Moreover, globalization and the rise of technology have resulted in polarized economic outcomes for millennials, with some industries and populations earning high incomes while others struggle to attain a living wage. The authors conclude with recommendations, including increasing students’ access to work-based learning opportunities and incentivizing degrees based on industries with predicted growth or shortages.

Carnevale, A. (n.d.). Credentials and competencies: Demonstrating the economic value of postsecondary education. Washington, DC: Center on Education and the Workforce. Available at

This brief explores the value of post-secondary education, arguing that college is increasingly important for young people entering the workforce, while acknowledging that the relationship between education and the economy has become more complex. Statistics on college access show that as credentials have become more important, a clear disparity in access to them—especially from elite institutions—exists for individuals with lower socio-economic status and other traditionally underserved student populations. And although evidence consistently demonstrates the value of a college degree, college majors and credentialing requirements for different professions also play important roles in determining the earning potential for entrants to the job market. In order for institutions of higher education to support improved outcomes for all students, the brief suggests that they must help students develop pragmatic skills for the workforce and support their development in becoming informed citizens. The author closes with the solemn view that if secondary and postsecondary educators cannot fulfill their mission to prepare students for the workforce, the likely result will permeate in failures of a healthy democracy.

Rainie, L., & Anderson, J. (2017). The future of jobs and job training. Pew Research Center, pp. 1–7. Available at PI_2017.05.03_Future-of-Job-Skills_FINAL.pdf

This excerpt summarizes the findings from research conducted by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imaging the Internet Center on the future of the labor market in relation to new technological advancements. The authors consider the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on the labor market, then explore the implications for education to respond to this evolving landscape. The report identifies three hopeful themes about the future of jobs training: (1) an anticipation that the jobs training ecosystem will evolve through new developments in a range of learning formats; (2) the imperative for learners to cultivate 21st-century skills, capabilities, and attributes; and (3) a belief that new credentialing systems will arise in response to technological possibilities and an evolving job market. The authors also highlight two concerns to temper this positive outlook: (1) the prospect that training systems will not meet 21st-century needs over the next decade and (2) the possibility that technological forces will fundamentally change work and the economic landscape in a way that threatens opportunities to find work.

Johnson, H., Mejia, M. C., & Bohn, S. (2015).Will California run out of graduates? San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

The authors predict that by 2030, insufficient numbers of California workers will have the degrees or skills needed in industries with the most demand, creating a “workforce skills gap.” Specifically, they analyze the supply and demand of Bachelor’s degrees, and predict that California will be short 1.1 million college graduates needed to fill projected job openings for highly educated workers. Unemployment rates among college graduates were higher in 2014 (4.5%) than 2007 (2.6%), but the economic value of a college degree has increased and the 2008 recession hit less educated workers harder. Certain industries (e.g., computer and mathematical science) are predicted to grow much more than others and in the past, California has been able to rely on attracting enough highly educated people from outside the state to fill any remaining job openings. But population growth has slowed and the rate of young college graduates has not outpaced the large number of baby boomer retirees. The authors close with recommendations to increase access to and support for a college education and improve completion and transfer rates.

**This document is considered a priority reading.