Needed more than ever

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A study released Sunday underscores the roles that North Carolina’s community colleges play in educating and training the state’s residents for good-paying jobs.

“The report released by the National Skills Coalition during the Southern Governors Association meeting in Asheville shows that 51 percent of all jobs in the American South fall into the ‘middle-skills’ category, requiring education and training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree,” reports The Associated Press. “Highly skilled jobs make up 29 percent of the job market; low-skill occupations make up 20 percent.”

In the Old North State, according to the report, 51 percent of available jobs are in the middle-skills category. The study reports that 43 percent of people seeking jobs meet qualifications for those middle-skills jobs.

That’s where the community colleges come in; they are set up to educated and train workers for those middle-skills jobs. And if more than half the jobs available in the state are in the middle-skills category, it makes sense to provide the community colleges with as much support, including funding, to prepare North Carolina residents for those jobs.

And if you think those middle-skills jobs don’t pay well, think again.

“What we are calling middle skills can actually be high-level skills, with some jobs paying $50 an hour,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said, according to The Associated Press. “That’s why I prefer to call them career-skill sets.”

At a time when the jobless rate in the state is more than 10 percent, our community colleges need the resources required to train people so they have the tools they need to land such jobs.

North Carolina residents need work, but they need to be properly trained so they have the skills needed to land those good-paying jobs.