At a time when more and more jobs require a bachelor’s degree, a new report released today by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development suggests that many Boston workers without a four-year degree possess the necessary skills to fill these jobs—and could fill more with the help of credentialed education and training in high-demand industries.

The report, Untapped: Redefining Hiring in the New Economy, comes at a unique moment for Boston’s job market. Since the Great Recession, an “upskilling” trend has led employers to raise educational requirements for jobs that once did not require a bachelor’s degree. While nearly 60 percent of Boston residents hold a bachelor’s degree, the city’s historically low 3.4 percent unemployment rate has left employers in need of more skilled workers to meet job demand.

The study was led by Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate director of Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.  Among the findings:

  • A growing number of non-BA workers are pursuing certificates or associate degrees, but not in high-paying fields such as information technology or engineering
  • Associate degree holders are equipped to fill some occupations that have been upskilled to require a BA, such as computer-related jobs, life science technicians, sales and related workers, and administrative assistants
  • A high degree of overlap is found between non-BA and BA workers when it comes to certain baseline skills – such as organizational, problem solving, and multitasking skills
  • The biggest skills gaps between non-BA and BA workers are seen in computer literacy and software skills

The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will be following up on the report recommendations, which focus on employer-informed credentials in high-demand fields, increased completion rates at community colleges, improved vocational career pathways, and expanded language instruction and job training for immigrants.

Read the full report or read the press release to learn more. 

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