USA Today Report Examines ‘The New Blue Collar’

In case you missed it, USA Today has published a special report on what the news publication is calling “The New Blue Collar.”

The report, as part of a series entitled “Where the Jobs Are,” focuses on the evolution and future of skilled trade jobs and how to find them.

“More than 2.5 million good-paying jobs will be created in the next few years,” says USA Today. “Will workers know how to get them?”

According to the report, U.S. manufacturing jobs are on the rise as American companies have found that moving jobs overseas was not a good idea for production that requires a highly-skilled workforce – however, many of the returning jobs no longer look the same.

“Technology has given many a makeover, leaving them worlds away from their assembly-line predecessors and challenging the notion that good blue-collar jobs are dead,” reads the report.

As in decades past, these projected jobs are good-paying, but will require vocational training – forcing America to break its habit of pushing young workers towards a four-year degree.

“Society’s push to get all young people into four-year colleges – what William Symonds calls the ‘one road to heaven’ approach – contributes to a shortage of skilled workers,” says USA Today. “‘People degrade or demean jobs that don’t require a four-year degree… That’s not what they want their kids to do,’ says Symonds, who is launching the Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University to study this issue and urge policymakers to help students find the best ‘pathway’ to success.”

“At the same time, high schools have dropped vocational and technical education programs over the past 30 years, eliminating a key way young people are introduced to these careers,” the report continues. “Change won’t happen without students getting better information about career planning, says Andy Van Kleunen, executive director of the National Skills Coalition.

The series includes other special reports on workers vs. automation, hot prospects for college grads and an interactive section that allows readers to search for new jobs by location, salary, education and occupation.

Read “Where the Jobs Are: The New Blue Collar.”

Read the entire “Where the Jobs Are” series.