Addressing America's Growing Health Care Demand
January 8, 2016, Washington, DC – This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 7.9 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.4 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This crisis exists because employers demand "job ready" employees and prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate education and training.
APSCU's second look at the shortage of skills in the U.S. turns to one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy: health care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects health care and health care support occupations are projected to be the two fastest growing occupational between now and 2024, with a combined increase of 2.3 million in employment, representing about 1 in 4 new jobs.
However, employers are facing difficulties as they seek to fill the rising number of middle-skill health care positions, such as Medical Assistants, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses. As the demand for care increases with America's aging population, this problem will only get worse.The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23% growth in jobs for health care support occupations and a 16.4% growth in health care practitioners and technical occupations between 2014 and 2024.
"The combination of demographics and increased access to health care are defining the growth in demand for allied health professionals.This is not just happening in California but across the nation," said Mitchell Fuerst, President of Success Education Colleges, a growing system of allied health colleges in California and Nevada. "More importantly, we now see a significant increase in the number of graduates who use mid-level skills in health care as the stepping stone through their career to increased education, increased certification and increased professional rewards."The U.S. must be prepared to meet this growing demand with trained middle-skilled professionals. Private sector institutions play a vital role in preparing America's workforce to rise to the challenge.
In 2015, JP Morgan Chase & Co. published a study that considered the skills gap in nine major U.S. cities. According to the study, “more than 50% of global CEOs are concerned that a key skills gap could limit their growth prospects… Helping people develop the skills they need to compete for today's jobs can transform lives and strengthen economies.”
The study also found that there were nearly 146,000 unfilled middle-skill jobs in the health care sector in seven of the nine cities examined. Because of their emphasis on skills-based education, private sector institutions will be a crucial part of the solution to closing the gap.
About Shortage of Skills
Each month APSCU will profile America’s “Shortage of Skills” (SoS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America’s economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues.
About The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU)
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. APSCU’s work supports thousands of campuses that educate millions of students.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.