The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

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January 9, 2013

State Community College Official Focuses on Middle-Skills Gap

TARBORO — Two million jobs in the U.S. go unfilled because of skill and training deficiencies in workers, an N.C. community college official told Edgecombe Community College (ECC) employees Jan. 3.

Maureen Little, associate vice president of customized training for the N.C. Community College System, delivered the keynote address at the spring semester kickoff for ECC employees and discussed “Filling the Mid-Skills Gap.”

A majority of training at ECC and other community colleges is for middle-skills jobs, those jobs requiring technical skills above high school but below a four-year degree. Middle-skills jobs account for 51 percent of all jobs today in the South, but only 43 percent of the region’s workers are trained to that level. Middle-skill workers, especially those in high-demand occupations, can earn salaries that surpass those of four-year college graduates.

“With every company in North Carolina and the country, at least 5 percent of their jobs go unfilled because they can’t find employees with the right skill sets,” Little said. Coupled with the retirement of baby boomers, she said the future of America’s ability to sustain a skilled and ready workforce is a “deep concern.”

“The number one issue that companies want to know is that ECC is going to be able to support the training of employees,” she said.

Little highlighted five points that are critical for gaining employment:

Good verbal and written communication skills

 Problem-solving skills and the ability to think critically

Ability to be a team player

Adaptability and flexibility to adjust to changes in the workplace

Personal accountability and responsibility

 

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